REATA talks with Michael Thomas from My Possibilities exciting future in their new building!
My name is Michael Thomas. I’m the executive director for My Possibilities. We’re a nonprofit organization for adults with cognitive disabilities. We’re a continued education center. We pick up where the school system leaves off.
My Possibilities. Each HIPster (Hugely Important Person – the acronym we use for our adults) have a wide variety of different cognitive disabilities. They can range from autism to Down’s Syndrome and cerebral palsy. We have adults who have traumatic brain injuries and really everything in between. Regardless of your ability level, our adults come into the program and we find what their goals are, what they’re currently working on, and we try and get them to wherever that next level is.
Our staff are all salaried. They all have professional backgrounds. They all have education in working with people with special needs. It’s our focus to provide legitimate education to our adults, versus a coloring book or just a place to sit for six to eight hours until they get their ride to go back home.
We’ve been in our current facility that Bob helped us find in 2008, and as a result of that lease, helped us grow into what we have today which is a full program – 100 adults with disabilities and helped us secure a second building to expand a little bit there as well.
Through REATA’s help over the course of the last year, we have acquired a new home for the program. It’s more than doubling our current size. It is a place that we’re going to own and be able to grow into. Because of the negotiations on that deal, we’re actually going to be able to double in size and save money on what we have to pay on a monthly basis to our new mortgage versus our rent.
As a product of working with REATA over the course of the last few years, we’ve not only been able to secure that first place and grow into a small second store, but now we’ve been able to permanently find our home here in Cullen County and we’ll be able to serve close to 175-200 adults every single day.
The growth of My Possibilities has been a result of community supporters. It’s really been across the board, even from day one, whereas our real estate partner, REATA, helped us find our first building. The Hudson Group helped do our insurance. Crull Fitness helped provide a place for our adults to workout and receive some physical fitness training on a weekly basis.
What’s really good for anybody to understand about the relationship that we’ve had with REATA and with Bob have been regardless of the process, whether it’s been the renewal of our current lease, the expansion into a second facility, identifying a future home that we’re moving into next year and working on the deal for that home, regardless of what it’s been, Bob’s interest has been the organizations best-case scenario in how we work towards that.
Instead of just saying, “Well, here are 30 properties that I found out there; let’s go look at them,” being able to narrow it down and say, “For what your organization is doing and for what’s best for the people that you are serving, these are the best-case scenarios.” Then we worked from there.
Rather than feeling like you’re dealing with a car salesman or an insurance salesman or somebody who’s just out there to get another customer, we’ve really felt taken care of and we’ve really felt that we have a relationship with somebody who’s looking after the best interest of the organization in our home versus someone who just treats us like we’re any other Joe Blow that they deal with.