New Panhandle Charity Gives Disabled Adults Independence

For disabled adults, the world of independence presents unique challenges. But one new Panhandle charity wants to help.

Texas Panhandle Independent Futures seeks to place disabled adults in homes away from family, where they can still get the appropriate care.

"Its been awesome. It really has," John Kirby, one of the residents in the first TPIF home, said, "I never thought I would have my own home."

John is confined to a wheelchair, but he's really not much different than any other twenty-something guy. He runs a group for disabled adults called Socializers.

"I really have a passion for getting these individuals out into the community", Kirby said, "We get them bowling, we go to Gatti's, we go to high school football games."

But many others like John strugle to lead normal lives every day.

"We're looking at a cost for an individual is approximately 300,000," Dorothy Valdez, a case worker for disabled adults, said.

And she said many disabled adults find that when family members are unable to help them, and money is tight, their choices are limited.

"They would be in a nursing home or an institution," Valdez said.

And that's exactly why the founders of TPIF want to help out.

"We were worried about what would happen to our kids when something happened to us, and it's a common thought, but when your child is disabled, it has a whole new meaning," Ken Kelley, TPIF founder, said, "We have tremendous fear that we won't raise enough money or we can't take care of all the people we want to take care of."

He and his wife have a disabled son, who lives with John Kirby in the first home.

The organization brought in $70,000 at an event with Pam Tebow this fall. The group hopes to fund a second home with the money raised, and the waiting list is growing.

It's an uphill battle, but the people behind this project have a lot of heart.

"Without these people, I would not have a bright future. Without the love that they've shown me, I would not have the opportunity that I've had," Kirby said.

For more information about the organization and how you can help, click here.

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