What is LIFESPAN’s mission?
To empower children and adults with disabilities by providing education, employment, and enrichment opportunities to live, work, and play in their communities.
Tell us your nonprofit story—how did it get started and why?
LIFESPAN began in 1973 when five children were excluded from Charlotte-Mecklenburg public school education due to their significant developmental disabilities. A group of concerned citizens from St. Mark’s Lutheran Church and the Arc of Mecklenburg County formed a group and created an educational day program in the basement of St Mark’s Lutheran Church. Since then, LIFESPAN has expanded to reach children and adults living in western and central North Carolina.
Describe one of your best experiences since starting at LIFESPAN.
Being part of an organization dedicated to ensuring success for so many individuals is rewarding. The following story is an example of just one of the wonderful experiences LIFESPAN employees get to be a part of:
Jane (name changed) began with LIFESPAN in 2013. Initially, when Jane and her group would attend community outings or volunteer services, she was very tentative and quiet and did not actively participate with others in the group. Soon the staff began to engage Jane with activities and assisted her with her communication and socialization skills. After months of working with Jane on a consistent basis and trying new and different activities, she now speaks and even initiates conversations with others; she even volunteers in her community.
November 9-13 is Apparo’s Local Good Week—what does giving back to the community mean to you and why is it important?
Giving back is a way to show thankfulness and gratitude while helping others. The act of giving back is critical to nonprofits that provide services to so many often with minimal means. Donors, sponsors and volunteers are a vital resource to non-profits and their communities.
How has working with Apparo enabled you to achieve your mission more efficiently?
Participating in the various opportunities offered through Apparo has helped us to question how we can use technology to be more efficient and to better meet the needs of the individuals we support. These questions will ultimately lead to solutions that will enable us to achieve our mission and stay relevant within our field while ultimately benefiting the 1300+ individuals with disabilities and their families that rely on LIFESPAN services across the state.