Highland Springs, the Erickson Living community in North Dallas, has a new neighbor.
My Possibilities, a college-style education center for adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, opened its first building on a 22-acre campus located just across the George Bush Turnpike from Highland Springs in May 2018.
"We want to be active within our community of neighbors," says Resident Services Coordinator Barbara Blachly. "We've enjoyed tours and plays at the University of Texas at Dallas, we've coordinated educational programs with the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, we've volunteered at the North Texas Food Bank, and we enjoy an annual visit to the All Saints Catholic School. Now we're building a relationship with My Possibilities."
My Possibilities currently serves 450 students, offering higher-level education and vocational training, as well as fitness and social opportunities. The organization also provides job coaching services to more 175 My Possibilities students employed throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.
Five students from My Possibilities work in dining services at Highland Springs.
"We love the way our residents interact with our new team members," says Executive Director Matt Neville. "It's wonderful to partner with a community that's experiencing the same growth we are."
Fun for all
To nurture the relationship with My Possibilities, the Resident Life staff at Highland Springs recently organized a series of nine challenges—bocce ball, putting, Wii bowling, table tennis, Jenga, shuffleboard, eight-ball pool, cornhole, and Wii tennis—all held at Highland Springs over the course of two weeks.
Students from My Possibilities and staff and residents from Highland Springs signed up for as many challenges as they wished. The challenges were open to all My Possibilities students and not limited to those who work at Highland Springs.
At My Possibilities, students are called HIPsters (Hugely Important People). To correspond, Resident Life staff dubbed the Highland Springs team members HAPsters (Highly Awesome People).
"We placed everyone who signed up on one of four teams—red, blue, green, or yellow," says Blachly. "HIPsters and HAPsters from each team competed in the challenges, and the yellow team had the most points in the end."
For each challenge, the winning team was awarded gold medals.
"Our students loved taking home a medal," says Jessie Poku, personal trainer at My Possibilities who participated in several challenges. "Many of them wore their medals to school the next day."
The partnership between Highland Springs and My Possibilities continued less than a month after the competition ended, as Highland Springs hosted a joint art show featuring works by artists from both communities.
"The relationship we are building with My Possibilities is one of fun and friendship," says Blachly. "That makes us all winners."