How Southwinds Helps People Like Brenda


[box]Integrative Staffing Group is proud to support Southwinds, a nonprofit organization that provides residency and a place to develop life skills to adults with intellectual and developmental challenges. Now serving 50 adults in 14 group homes throughout the South Hills, Southwinds gives those adults the opportunity to lead normal lives.[/box]

Brenda grew-up attending school in the Pittsburgh Conroy School System, special education facility, and lived with her father and stepmother. Brenda’s primary diagnosis is mild intellectual and developmental disorder. She remained living at home until her father’s death in 1991.  In 1992, her step-mother placed her in Mayview State Hospital. She came to live at Southwinds in November of 1993.

Brenda arrived with one box and one baby doll. She loves dolls. She has quite the stuffed animal collection, too! Brenda, 57 years old, currently lives at one of our barrier-free homes in Greenock, PA. Like a lot of our individuals, she has little to no contact with any of her family. Southwinds is her home and we are all her family!!

Brenda currently attends program at the Blind and Vision Rehabilitation Center (BVRS) in Homestead.  She is a budding artist!! Brenda’s passion is drawing and coloring. She comes home from BVRS, relaxes on the couch and can color a perfect picture in less than five minutes.

Her creative paintings are a combination of fanciful cut-out characters in colorful scenes. Her eye for detail can be seen as her characters are always dressed to the nines from head to toe. They also wear eyeglasses because she knows that most of the people that attend BVRS have vision impairments. Animals, from cats to ducks, are also always prominent figures in her paintings.  If you happen to see a character that is colored all black, watch out because Brenda is having one of those days!!

In April 2012, Brenda was the featured artist at the BVRS “Soul Vision” Art Show. She sold several of her pieces at that show and also at BVRS’s Artist Market in Lawrenceville.

She will also have a piece auctioned off at the spring 2013 Bethel-St. Clair Rotary’s Annual Pancake Festival.

Brenda loves eating out, visiting the Zoo, going to Kennywood and shopping for jewelry. She attends church services regularly where she enjoys singing hymns. Brenda uses a walker for short distances and a wheelchair for long distances due to arthritis in her hips and ankles. Despite these ailments, Brenda loves to dance, and has more energy now than ever after losing 100 pounds and having two successful knee replacements. Brenda is a caring and helpful individual who is always smiling.

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