Icy weather impacts local non-profit in its mission to reach members of the community

BROKEN ARROW, Okla. — According to the staff at A New Leaf, the nonprofit that provides job training, life skills and residential for people with developmental disabilities and autism, the wintry weather adversely affects people in their programs.

Lindsey Stewart, Manager of Philanthropic Resources at A New Leaf, said their clients have a harder time accessing transportation, leading to social isolation. “When you add inclement weather, it just piles those barriers on top of it. So, you know, transportation, going to work, stuff like that where you and I can still get out and go and do, those are always going to be barriers for people with developmental disabilities,” Stewart said.

A New Leaf provides staff in some of their clients’ homes to help them live independently.

“We’re trying to figure out how do we get groceries to them, how are we making sure that their heat is on and that they have all the things that they need,” she said.

Icy roads could keep the staff from being able to get out to help them.

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“Whether a client still lives with their family member, and they have to figure out a way to get them there because they also still have to go to work, or if they live independently and we are providing transportation for them, what are those risks, are we going to be able to get them,” Stewart said.

When weighing the options of closing vocation for that day, it is a decision they don’t take lightly.

“When a client can’t come to work, it’s an hourly rate so, they’re not getting paid those wages that day, so it’s a ripple effect in their life,” Stewart said.

That ripple effect could lead to waves of isolation.

“There are people out there that need a little bit of extra help, so a new leaf is always there trying to prepare for those types of things,” she said.





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