Transitional employment center for those with special needs to begin construction in April

Published: Mar. 7, 2023 at 8:47 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 7, 2023 at 8:48 PM CST
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Advo with Hope to Opportunities is an area non-profit serving adults with special needs.

The non-profit launched a $20 million capital campaign, ‘Hope Village’ in 2021, which has five phases.

Hope Village is a transitional employment center and park.

Advo recently completed phase one and is now entering phase two.

“The finish out of all the warehouse, the strip center and the landscape for the project,” said Jeremy Bradford, Vice President, Advo with Hope to Opportunities.

Phase two will consist of the following businesses, which the employees will be Advo clients, adults with special needs.

  • Warehouse: The 25,000 sq ft facility will provide manufacturing, assembly, and packaging services to both local and nationwide companies. The clients will learn skills such as, operating warehouse equipment, shipping procedures and assembly line skills.
  • Embroidery/Screen Print Shop: This will help clients learn important customer service skills, as they interact with customers, learning order collecting skills and financial transaction payments.
  • Coffee, Tea, Deli, and Ice Cream Shops: Clients will put their food preparation and serving skills to work, as well as learn the art of brewing and serving a variety of coffee and teas.
  • Custom Framing Shop: Clients will demonstrate craftsmanship and framing skills, while also working on customer service skills.

“It’s giving them a purpose, they succeed, they feel achievement, that I am worth something, I can do things, I’m a part of the community,” said Ed Montana, parent of an Advo client.

The skills learned at Hope Village will be transferable to the outside community.

“Each of them is about a 16 week project in training, so they’re getting fully trained on how to run the jobs there and the employers are going to be excited because they’ve got an employee now that is dedicated to working,” said Bradford.

Once the City of Amarillo signs off on the project, construction will begin, Advo expects that to happen in April and then completion of the shops and warehouse to be February of 2024.

Advo currently has a wait list of 300, Bradford says Hope Village will help with that.

“That’s going to free up about 100 spaces for people on that waitlist to come over, start getting the training they need, but more importantly start learning how to live an independent life,” said Bradford,

After the warehouse and shops open up, Hope Village isn’t finished.

There will still be three remaining phases.

Phase three includes an accessible park, allowing adults to have a place to play and increase physical activity.

Phase four will be an activity center/gymnasium and sports field, which will be used year-round.

Advo says it participates in Special Olympics with over 140 athletes participating in 12 different sports.

Several of its athletes qualify for Regional, State, National and World Games.

“We’re going to have that place for the Advo athletes to practice and play games, but more importantly it’s going to open up our community to bring in Special Olympic events to Amarillo,” said Bradford.

The last phase will be the purchase of the Advo Headquarters from the current owners to increase cash flow for operations and client needs.

Bradford says ‘It takes a village to build Hope Village’ and that donations are still needed for the project.

For phase two, the total anticipated cost is $3.2 million dollars and about half of that has been raised.

To donate, click here.