The Brookwood Community: Spectacular Place for Special People in Brookshire, TX
A special place called the Brookwood Community exists just west of Houston, Texas. With the spark of an idea plus much research in the area of finding and maintaining a suitable, life-enhancing home for adults with special needs, this stellar residential community came to be.
Ever since its humble beginnings in 1985, it has continued to grow and envelop the resident citizens with beautiful surroundings in every sense of the word. The residents who are fortunate enough to call Brookwood their home do what others do. They work, pray, and play together like other loving families.
How this all came to fruition is due to one lady in particular. But successfully operating this community is due to the efforts of many individuals, corporations, volunteers, and everyday people who merely wish to shop for terrific gifts, purchase healthy and beautiful garden plants or want to dine in their cafe on some mouth-watering cuisine.
Special Needs and Civil Rights
People are born every day with special needs. Others in our society become disabled due to disease or accidents which cause irreparable harm. Some of these needs are visually apparent, and others are not so easily discerned from casual appearance as the scars may be emotional or mental.
In the United States, ever since the Civil Rights Act of 1964, continuing efforts have been made to assist individuals in various categories via federal laws. The Civil Rights Act initially addressed discrimination against people because of religion, race, or gender.
Many of the laws have to do with educating disabled children, such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and its predecessor, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975. Special needs children now have access to education and training from birth up to the ages of 18 or 21. Special accommodations can happen for each student, and many of these students go on to lead successful lives.
The most current Americans with Disabilities Act signed into law by President George Bush in 1990 addresses adults and prohibits discrimination from employment based upon their handicaps. This act affected many businesses and entities around the country. The new law mandated things like creating ramps, and larger bathroom stalls, to enable easy access for wheelchair-bound individuals. People with special needs could now compete on a more level playing field.
All of these laws have helped to some extent, but there are still many folks with special needs who lack an environment in which they can thrive, particularly after they reach adulthood.
Brookwood Community LandscapingClick thumbnail to view full-size
The Brookwood Community came into being because of the tireless efforts of the founder and executive director emeritus Yvonne Tuttle Streit. The link to Brookwood Community and some of these YouTube videos tell that story. Suffice it to say that when her daughter became impaired after an illness, this lady tried her best to move heaven and earth so that her daughter could lead the best life possible.
Most people survive having mumps with no long term side effects, but her daughter Vicki was not so lucky. Ensuing encephalitis and meningitis left her with residual brain damage. In trying to help her daughter get the best care, Yvonne Tuttle Streit began to meet others who had similar needs for their children.
Due to Mrs. Streit's successful fundraising efforts and raising awareness of the need for the development of a residential community where people with special needs could happily live out their lives, Brookwood Community became a reality.
It is situated just 40 miles west of Houston in Brookshire, south of Interstate 10, and encompasses over 475 acres in rolling countryside. On-site for the residents are living quarters, a non-denominational chapel, a nursery, gift shop, cafe, and even such things as a gymnasium and swimming pool.
The setting couldn't be prettier for this part of Texas! Over one hundred residents are fortunate to be able to call this place their home. People can arrange tours of the campus by calling this number: 281-375-2158. The address is the following: 1752 FM 1489, Brookshire, Texas 77423.
One way for people to beautify their homes and gardens is to think of purchasing the beautiful plants grown by the residents and volunteers at the Brookwood Community and also at several outlying storefronts.
10222C Westheimer, Houston, TX 77042 is one of the locations, and the other is in Old Town Spring, which is north of Houston. That address is 318 Gentry Street, Spring, TX 77373. At all three locations, not only are the plants of premium quality, but the pricing is very competitive with other retail establishments that sell similar items.
The residents at Brookwood Community learn to master the gardening skills and are also able to earn wages by doing this type of work. Tending plants and watching things grow and flourish make for a good feeling, as any gardener knows.
Years ago, when I chaired a fundraising dinner and auction event for an assistance ministry in the Bear Creek area of West Houston, I enlisted the help of the Brookwood Community to furnish the table decorations with live plants. All of the profits from the sale of the plants went to Brookwood, and it was a great way to combine efforts for the two non-profit entities.
Almost every year since I have become familiar with this charity, I add some of their lovingly tended plants into our outdoor garden area. It is an easy way to help support this fantastic charity and the residents who live there. Each season of the year features different plants like the poinsettias at Christmas as an example.
Plants and other items available for sale at Brookwood CommunityClick thumbnail to view full-size
There is a fantastic gift shop, which has grown much larger over the years to the massive place it has become today. Similar items are also sold at the Westheimer store and in Old Town Spring.
While the residents do not make everything sold there, hand-painted pottery and other items blend with the other products acquired. Visiting the gift shop presents a visual feast for the eyes. They decorate the shops seasonally, and I have some photographs that I took around Easter and others approaching the Halloween time of year.
Volunteers cheerfully assist one with purchases. You can find everything from blends of different teas to cowboy hats, statuary to furniture, artwork, dishes to table décor, jewelry to belts and scarves, and much too much to individually mention is in these gift shop locations. It is a perfect place to find that special something for oneself or others.
Prices vary from little in the way of pocket change to some that are higher priced. There is something to suit nearly everyone's budget. Knowing that a part of one's expenditure also helps a good cause makes shopping there even more delightful.
Sampling of Brookwood Gift Shop ItemsClick thumbnail to view full-size
This cafe at Brookwood is a delightful place to dine! The food is delicious and well prepared by a chef who trained at the New York Culinary Institute of America.
Items include savory homemade soups and unusually good sandwiches to entrée portions of delightful sounding pasta, mouthwatering fresh seafood, enticing vegetarian dishes as well as tempting meat dishes. Naturally, there are also tasty desserts to satisfy one's sweet tooth.
They use the freshest of ingredients, and Chef Laura McGuire's deft hand in creating these masterpieces will have you wishing to return and sample more of the delectable items on the menu. So far, every time I have dined there, I find myself ordering another tasty seafood entrée. Others around me have always said their food selections are delicious as well. The plating is very eye appealing.
The beautifully decorated room can be separated by a folding wall arrangement, which can make one part of it more intimate for groups who wish to meet as well as dine there.
Many wedding receptions occur here, and the room can display a dance floor as well as a stage. With the ambiance of a fireplace at one end of the room, and the glass windows and doors overlooking the well-manicured and landscaped lawn and garden area in the back, this site is booked continuously throughout the year.
For reservations to have lunch or to arrange other meetings and events, this is the number to call: 281-375-2400. Lunch hours are daily from 11 AM to 2 PM.
Brookwood Cafe PhotosClick thumbnail to view full-size
If you are not already familiar with what a special place the Brookwood Community truly is, hopefully, you are now enlightened. Not only do people with special needs live, work, and play in this fantastic residential community, but the community at large outside of Brookwood is welcome to come and enjoy this most resplendent of places.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 Peggy Woods