The Meadows Blog

Dreams Come True

Michael Crawley - Tuesday, March 10, 2020

At 6:00 a.m. the alarm goes off. Hoping to put off the inevitable, you reach over and push the snooze button. However, you realize you’re not going back to sleep because your mind is quickly consumed by all of the reasons you don’t want to go to work.

You stare at the ceiling and think about how much you dislike your job. The commute, your coworkers and the tasks that lay ahead of you combine to create an impending sense of dread. After another minute or two, you realize there is no point in putting it off. You might as well get up and face another pointless day. 

Sadly, that is the way some people start each morning. For them, having a job is a source of continuing unhappiness. Because they can’t seem to find work that is fulfilling, many of them change jobs frequently, constantly searching for something better. Others are locked into long-term careers leaving them feeling trapped with no hope of escaping their particular situation. In either case, work becomes nothing more than drudgery.

Because they only focus on the negative, they fail to appreciate that there are countless individuals who desperately want exactly what they have. These are people who would give anything to face the challenges of a job that others consider to be a burden.

Unfortunately, too many men and women with developmental disabilities will never be given the opportunity to work. For them, having a job is a dream that always seems to be just out of reach.

These are people who are judged solely by their appearance, the way they move, or the way they speak. Perhaps they use a walker or wear leg braces. Maybe they have vision or hearing issues. Possibly they cannot stand for long periods. These are challenges they live with every day of their lives - but for potential employers, each one is used as a convenient excuse to turn them away without even giving them a chance.

To face rejection because of something you have absolutely no control over is unfair and unjust. It is not right that a person should have to struggle to overcome the misconceptions of others.

Regrettably, a significant percentage of the business community is still reluctant to institute changes or make necessary accommodations to assist someone so they can be employed. They’re unwilling to offer the support, guidance or additional training that a particular individual might need. They cannot see past the challenges and appreciate the humanity of the person.

But they should never lose sight of the fact that a disability can occur at any point in life. In an instant, they could be involved in an accident or experience a medical crisis that would leave them with a permanent intellectual or physical challenge.

From that moment on, their employment opportunities would be influenced by the way others saw their disability. There would be a tendency to define them by what was viewed as their “perceived” limitations. They would no longer be seen as a complete person. In other people’s eyes they would now be “different”, and for that reason, they would be considered unemployable.

That is the barrier to the job market faced by hundreds of thousands of men and women with developmental disabilities, and it is where our organization enters the picture.

The Meadows Center for Opportunity is a nonprofit whose prime objective is to offer employment to the very people that others refuse to consider hiring. We believe that having a disability should not be used as a reason to automatically exclude a person from the workforce.

For thirty-seven years it has been our mission to hire adults with intellectual and physical challenges. Because so many of these individuals have been forced to wait for the chance to have a job, when the opportunity finally arrives, they commit themselves to do the best they possibly can. Their work ethic is admirable. Eager to learn and willing to attempt new tasks, each person takes great pride in their accomplishments as they consistently strive to reach their potential.

Throughout the years, the individuals we’ve hired have proven over and over again to be outstanding employees in every way - which makes it difficult to understand why so many businesses remain reluctant to utilize this amazing resource.

These adults want to work - and, more importantly, they deserve to work.

So, the next time the alarm goes off, please remember that you are blessed to be employed. And if, for some reason, your current job does not pan out, rest assured that you will always have the opportunity to find other work.

But, unfortunately, that is not true for people with intellectual challenges.

Until society changes its attitude, there will continue to be a crucial need for organizations like the Meadows to provide meaningful jobs to individuals who have been unfairly left behind.

That is why we feel privileged each time we are able to hire a man or woman with a developmental disability and make that person’s dream of employment come true.


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Dreams Come True

Michael Crawley - Tuesday, March 10, 2020

At 6:00 a.m. the alarm goes off. Hoping to put off the inevitable, you reach over and push the snooze button. However, you realize you’re not going back to sleep because your mind is quickly consumed by all of the reasons you don’t want to go to work.  
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The Business of Trust

Michael Crawley - Tuesday, February 18, 2020

In the business world, long-term success can be elusive, but the Meadows has been able to achieve it because of just one word: TRUST. 
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A Meaningful Job

Michael Crawley - Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Employment is a crucial part of every person’s life. Obviously, the financial reward for working is necessary to sustain ourselves - but, in reality, being employed is much more than that.  
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A New Decade of Service

Michael Crawley - Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Although there is much debate over whether 2020 or 2021 is the start of the next decade, for our purposes, we are going to look out over the next ten years starting January 1, 2020. 
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The Truth

Michael Crawley - Tuesday, December 03, 2019

It is an undeniable fact that human beings have always been willing to pass judgment and jump to conclusions about people who they believe are different from them. Unfortunately, this is particularly true when it comes to individuals with developmental disabilities.

These negative perceptions occur because we allow our emotions to guide our thinking instead of seeking the truth which can require effort and an open mind. Consequently, we are quick to label people with challenges and to categorize them for our own convenience. We fail to understand that no two people are the same and that each individual has their own personality and character. But we are, unfortunately, eager to form an opinion about their life without knowing a thing about them.

Here are five common situations that we are all familiar with. In each case, you encounter a person you think cannot possibly be a productive member of society.

You are shopping at the mall when two individuals walk past you. Suddenly one of them collapses with a seizure. You watch in shock as the convulsions run their course. Certain that the person lives in terror with the knowledge that a seizure could occur at any moment, you feel great sympathy for them. You assume their quality of life is compromised and that because of their epilepsy they cannot accomplish anything of significance.


You are eating at a restaurant when a person comes in with another adult. You can’t help but stare as they follow their hostess to their table. The individual has partial paralysis on one side of their body and there is visible scarring that indicates that they have endured multiple surgeries. The person walks with a pronounced limp, and you can see that their arm is immobile. You can’t imagine how they make it through the day living with those kinds of issues.


You are waiting to check out at the store. The individual in front of you is trying to communicate with the cashier, but their speech is extremely difficult to understand. The people behind you become impatient as the person struggles to convey their thoughts to the cashier who just wants them to move along and get out of the way. You feel great pity for the individual as you wonder what kind of “affliction” could’ve caused their inability to communicate clearly.


You are in line to buy a ticket for a movie when an individual standing with their mother becomes agitated about something. Very quickly the person’s behavior escalates and they begin to yell as they lose control of their emotions. Their mother tries to help them calm down, but she is not successful in getting the person to relax. You and others watch with silent disapproval as you harshly judge her lack of parenting skills for allowing this to happen in public.


You are waiting for an elevator. The doors open and a person carefully steps out pushing a walker. Their balance is precarious and their legs seem stiff and rigid. It is obvious that they would not be able to walk without the assistive device. You suspect their life is limited in countless ways because of their lack of mobility, and you can’t help thinking it would be better for them to stop trying to walk altogether and to just use a wheelchair.

What do these five people have in common?...... Yes, they each have a disability. Yes, it affects certain areas of their lives, and yes, their diagnosis is often used to unfairly define them. But what might surprise you is one other thing that they have in common. Something positive. Something meaningful. Something that deserves to be acknowledged.

All of these individuals are successfully employed at the Meadows.

Along with almost forty other men and women with intellectual challenges, these five individuals work each day at a variety of jobs that not only provide them with a hard-earned paycheck but also build self-esteem and self-confidence. They learn vocational skills, but, even more importantly, they are given every opportunity to reach their personal potential.

But when these same individuals go out in public, people rush to judge them based on nothing more than appearances. That kind of narrow-mindedness is unfair and unjust.

Obviously, there is an important lesson that must be learned.

When we encounter a person with an intellectual, physical or emotional challenge, we should treat them just like we would anyone else. They deserve to be understood and accepted for who they are as a person. They deserve to be treated with dignity. They deserve to be respected.

The men and women we proudly employ are perfect examples of what people with developmental disabilities can achieve in a positive work setting that offers support and encouragement.

The truth is simple. Every person, regardless of what their challenges happen to be, has the right to live their best life.

That is what our employees do every day.

Read More

Why The Meadows Matters

Michael Crawley - Monday, November 11, 2019
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It Is Not Too Late!

Michael Crawley - Thursday, October 24, 2019

The Meadows annual Walk-A-Thon, held on Saturday, October 12th, was a tremendous success, and we want to thank everyone who participated.  
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Why We Are Not Hiring

Michael Crawley - Sunday, February 25, 2018

People frequently contact the Meadows to see if we are currently hiring individuals with intellectual challenges. Unfortunately, as much as we wish we could, the answer is NO. 
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The Men and Women of the Meadows

Michael Crawley - Sunday, February 18, 2018

The mission of our organization is to provide employment and vocational training for adults with developmental disabilities as well as other intellectual and physical challenges. 
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Physical Challenges

Michael Crawley - Sunday, February 11, 2018

For those of you who are familiar with the Meadows, you know that on this blog we focus primarily on intellectual challenges. That is because each of the men and women we employ has an IQ of 70 or less, which is the state’s criteria of determining a developmental disability. 
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The Meadows
Center for Opportunity

1000 South Kelly
Edmond, Oklahoma

phone: 405.348.4470
fax: 405.340.5395