June 12, 2024
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How One Mother’s Love and Dedication Birthed the Revolutionary Nonprofit Anthony’s Center for Independent Adult Opportunities

Anthony’s Center for Independent Adult Opportunities
Sourced Photo (Image commercially licensed)

Some people have often considered disabilities as something negative and shameful. After all, many of them continue to operate under the harmful notion that a person’s value is closely tied to their contributions to the community. Alongside that, many still hold the ignorant assumption that individuals with disabilities are incapable of functioning as productive members of society. 

Cognizant of this, one devoted mother has started Anthony’s Center for Independent Adult Opportunities. It is a nonprofit organization that promotes independent living, job training, job creation, and recreation for people with intellectual disABILITIES. Anthony’s Center aims to create a safe environment where these deserving individuals can live their best lives.

At the helm of this inspiring initiative is the visionary Lisa Ciao. What fueled the remarkable woman to create the foundation is her undeniable love and devotion for her son, Anthony, who has Kleefstra Syndrome. Like most moms, she understands the importance of teaching and encouraging her child to live a meaningful and independent life. But on the other hand, she also knows that society can be cruel and discriminatory against individuals with intellectual disabilities. 

As such, she has begun to create Anthony’s Center for Independent Adult Opportunities, so Anthony and his peers will have a safe, inclusive space and tight-knit community where they can explore, learn, and grow. The independent living community will provide its residents countless opportunities to increase and enhance various competencies, including basic to intermediate living and decision-making skills. On top of that, it will teach them health and wellness management, safety, employment, and many others. 

Despite still being a fledgling organization, Anthony’s Center for Independent Adult Opportunities has already made great strides in fulfilling its vision. For example, it proudly supports numerous other organizations that advocate for the special needs community on a local, national, and global scale. Some of the organizations it supports are AJ Foundation, Best Buddies, Miracle League, Special Olympics, Hopes & Dreams Foundation, and Bake Abilities.

Aside from her impressive work in the nonprofit scene, Lisa continues to champion her advocacy in other avenues. She has written Anthony’s Way, I AM ME!, a children’s book that chronicles the life and journey of her son. The author has also incredibly encapsulated what makes individuals with special needs unique.

In addition, she is a co-author of the anthologies Dust to Salvation: Stories of Grace, Love, and Redemption in the Midst of Jesus Revealing Unexpected Miracles and Embracing the Journey: Inspiring Stories of Hope, Healing and Triumphing over Adversity

Ultimately, Lisa’s goal is to empower families of individuals with intellectual disABILITIES to equip their children with the tools and resources needed to live an independent and happy life. But, most importantly, she aims to destigmatize disABILITIES and enlighten non-disabled individuals that people with special needs are just as capable as them. 

As the loving mother continues to move forward, she hopes that Anthony’s Center for Independent Adult Opportunities will get more backing from donors and benefactors who share the same dream of creating a home that will support adults with special needs and provide them with options for both being independent and included within the community.

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