At The Meadows Center for Opportunity, our commitment to the community extends beyond providing employment opportunities and training for developmentally disabled adults and offering high-quality, secure data destruction to our customers.  We believe that part of our mission is to practice responsible disposal methods that protect and preserve the environment.

We completely recycled destroyed paper documents.  When the paper is shredded, it is baled into bales weighing approximately 1,500-1,800 pounds.  These bales are sent to facilities around the nation to be reduced to pulp and used to produce recycled home paper goods.

How do our recycling efforts benefit the environment?

For each ton of paper we shred and recycle, between 17 and 31 trees are preserved.  However, the benefits of recycling extend beyond the conservation of trees.  Producing recycled paper is more energy efficient, requires fewer chemicals, and creates fewer pollutants than producing paper from wood fiber.

  • Paper mills use 40 percent less energy to make paper from recycled paper than from fresh lumber.
  • Paper mills generate most of their energy from waste wood, but recycling mills use on-site cogeneration facilities or purchase energy from local power companies.
  • Producing recycled paper requires fewer chemicals and bleaches that producing new paper.
  • Recycled paper is less polluting than paper made from wood fiber.

In addition to reducing waste and creating fewer pollutants, paper recycling is important for the conservation of natural materials, renewable resources, and energy.  Each ton of paper manufactured from recycled fibers rather than virgin fibers conserves: 

  • 7,000 Gallons of Water
  • 17 to 31 Trees
  • 4,000 KWh of Electricity
  • 60 Pounds of Air Pollutants

Recycling shredded paper produced from our data destruction services is an important part of our commitment to green solutions and eco-friendly business practices.



Michael Crawley - Saturday, April 05, 2014

When the average American thinks about Oklahoma three things usually come to mind: the beautiful culture of Native Americans, the dominance of the OU Sooner football team and our annual onslaught of tornadoes - but there is considerably more to it than that. 
Read More


Michael Crawley - Saturday, March 22, 2014

You are an important person, the result of a complex mixture of characteristics that combine to form your personality. You have both positive and negative qualities – strengths and weaknesses – as well as personal likes and dislikes. This makes you totally unique and different from everyone else. You belong to the human family and yet you are an individual. You defy simple descriptions and labels because you are more than just a “type of person”. Each of us is convinced of our own worth. We each believe that the world would be changed forever if we were not present, and that is certainly true. We all play our respective roles in life, and without us things could not possibly be the same. These are the perceptions we embrace concerning our own lives.  
Read More

Stories of Dementia

Michael Crawley - Saturday, March 08, 2014

Several dozen residents are in the large living room, some slowly move around on their own, others use walkers to help with their balance, several walk with the aid of a cane. Many sit in large comfortable chairs and some in wheel chairs. A few have a noticeable tremor in their hands, and some are talking softly to themselves or to no one in particular. Many sit quietly with their eyes closed, perhaps sleeping, while a few gaze off without focusing on anything. Some interact with the staff, some do not. At the other end of the room there is a bingo game in progress. Some of the players can find the numbers on the cards by themselves but most need assistance. Along one wall is shelving filled with books, another wall features a large aquarium containing an assortment of brightly colored fish, and in one corner of the room is a large screen TV tuned to a soap opera. Several ladies are watching it intently. 
Read More

Communication Challenges

Michael Crawley - Saturday, February 22, 2014

Imagine not being able to say a single word. Or consider that your speech is labored and difficult for others to understand, therefore conversations move too quickly for you to participate. This is the reality for many people with intellectual challenges. The fact that they are nonverbal or that their speech is not understandable adds a level of complexity to their lives that most of us will never experience. The frustration, confusion and even fear that results from not being comprehended by others can have profound consequences on their quality of life, their physical safety and their emotional well-being.

For those who are not able to express themselves in a way that is easily understood, it can be a lifelong challenge to be acknowledged and to be included. That is why it is critical to educate society so that people realize that just because someone has a developmental disability which makes it difficult for them to communicate verbally does not mean that they don’t have important things to share. Over the years, individuals have been marginalized because they could not express themselves with understandable speech, or they chose not to speak at all. This led to a tragic leap of logic which made listeners believe that these individuals did not have anything of value to say.

Right now you and I are communicating without verbal words being exchanged, and yet we are connected by a subject of interest in the hope that information can be transmitted from one person to another. If you have opinions on this topic you can respond by leaving a comment. At that point we will have shared our thoughts with each other even though we may be on different continents. No speech will have been involved and yet, hopefully, we will have each had a mutually satisfying exchange of ideas that are useful. This is just one example of the power of communication when the two parties do not verbally speak to each other. 

Because all human beings share the overwhelming desire to be understood, we are driven to communicate throughout our lives. It is one of the early milestones for babies, and it’s one of the essential pillars that make up the foundation our social order is built on. It allows the free exchange of ideas and information between individuals and groups. That is why it is morally wrong to exclude individuals who have difficulty verbalizing their thoughts. Society has a responsibility to ensure that every person is able to communicate in a way that is appropriate for them. Whatever it takes to allow a person to express their wants and needs must be made available to them. We cannot deny anyone their right to be understood.

We can just look at the dramatic rise of facebook, twitter and blogs and it is obvious that our desire to connect with others is a dominate part of our lives. However, it is the spoken word that most of us use to convey our hopes, dreams, pain and frustration. When something happens in our lives, whether good or bad, we can’t wait to share it with everyone. Part of the great joy of having good news is being able to tell others about it, and when we have bad news we feel better when we talk to someone. Our deep need to explain and complain is an integral part of the human effort to bond with others.

Because every person has the right to communicate and to be understood, it is morally wrong to dismiss another human being simply because they cannot talk clearly and effortlessly. A person whose speech is halting deserves to have our attention. They have the right to speak without being interrupted or having someone try to finish their sentence. We must show respect for their efforts to engage us. The right to communicate freely absolutely extends to those who happen to have challenges expressing themselves verbally. We cannot let their thoughts and ideas go unappreciated simply because we refuse to make the effort to understand them. There are many creative ways for a person to converse, and we have to be willing to make those opportunities and services available to those who might not be heard without them.

When a person with a developmental disability attempts to tell us what they want or need, we have a responsibility to do everything in our power to fully comprehend them. It is up to each of us to do what is necessary to allow successful interaction between all people no matter what their circumstances might be. When someone’s speech is difficult to understand, attentive listening is a sign of respect. When someone is nonverbal we honor their dignity by communicating in a way that is comfortable for them. Under no circumstances can we be dismissive of someone because it requires a little extra time and patience on our part to connect with them.

People who have challenges with their speech can be extremely imaginative and bursting with creativity. They have so much to offer that we must make sure that they have every opportunity to express themselves fully. When we protect the right of every member of society to share their thoughts, ideas and opinions we all benefit from those contributions. No matter what method of communication is used to exchange information between people, the beauty of diversity enhances everyone’s lives because what truly matters in our world can be expressed without words. After all, a person who is nonverbal does not actually have to say, “I love you”, to be able to convey such a personal and heartfelt emotion. We just have to be willing to let them tell us in their own way.

The experience of life is to be shared with others. That is why not having your communication understood can create the worst kind of loneliness and isolation.

Every human being deserves to be included in the conversation of life.

Read More

Dignity and Respect

Michael Crawley - Sunday, February 09, 2014

The life of a person with a developmental disability is filled with challenges that most members of our society will never be forced to deal with. Things we take for granted such as inclusion and acceptance are rights that they are often forced to struggle for. While most of us have the automatic expectation that we will be treated fairly and justly, individuals with intellectual challenges sometimes face a different reality.

Although every person deserves to be treated the same, that doesn’t always occur. A lack of thoughtfulness and consideration for those who might have difficulty speaking up for themselves can lead us to discount their wants, needs and desires. When we look past someone with a developmental disability, without acknowledging them as a person, we are showing disrespect. When we do not provide complete inclusion so they can participate fully in society we are denying them the dignity they deserve.

Unfortunately, if people with intellectual challenges are not respected there is the chance that they will begin to lose respect for themselves. After all, if others think they are unworthy than they might start to believe it as well. Even though these judgments have no basis in truth they can lead to a loss of personal dignity if the individual is convinced by other people that their life is not as worthwhile because they have a particular issue. That is why it is crucial to treat every human being with the respect they deserve.

But sadly, people with developmental disabilities are still sometimes considered less than equal which can lead to a denial of their dignity by uncaring or insensitive people. When this happens we have a moral responsibility to step in on their behalf. That type of behavior simply cannot be tolerated. When a person, for whatever reason, is unable to defend themselves or speak up for themselves we must intercede to make certain that they are treated exactly the way we would want to be treated. To stand by and not take action makes us part of the problem. Indifference is just as wrong as the disrespect shown by one person for another.

It becomes readily apparent how important it is to preserve the dignity of everyone when we realize that at some point in our lives each one of us is going to become vulnerable. It could occur for any number of reasons but no matter what the cause we will expect to be treated with respect because we believe that is our right as human beings in a free society. Therefore we cannot ignore individuals with developmental disabilities who are presently vulnerable because they have difficulty expressing themselves or because they are not able to fully understand their right to equal treatment. The fact that a person cannot ask for, or demand, dignity and respect does not mean that they don’t deserve them, and it certainly does not give us the right to deny them.

We have a responsibility to ensure that dignity and respect are never based on material possessions or status. They must not be contingent on power or accomplishment. They cannot be the result of popularity or personality. They are deserved simply for being a human being. And because the experience of life should be shared equally, there can be no distinction in the value of people who have intellectual challenges and those who don’t. A person deserves respect no matter what stage of life they are in or what is happening to them at any particular moment. That is why it is critical that people are allowed to maintain their dignity whether they occasionally need assistance or if they are completely dependent on others for support or care.

Please take a moment and think about the people you respect. Chances are they are the kind of individuals who accept everyone as equals. In a sense they are respected because that is how they treat others. By the same token, those who are disrespectful to people are unlikely to be well respected themselves. They are denied the very thing that they deny to fellow human beings. Having respect and dignity is a two way street in the sense that it is difficult to get them if you refuse to give them - and because they go hand and hand it is almost impossible to have one without the other.

Because people with developmental disabilities are equal members of the human family, they too deserve complete respect and personal dignity. Every person has the right to live their life the best way they can. No matter what challenges an individual might face, we show them respect by allowing them to make as many decisions as they can, and by letting them have as much control over their own lives as possible. We honor their dignity by providing them with opportunity and the resources to be successful. There can be absolutely no exceptions to these fundamental rights.

When we treat a person with an intellectual challenge with dignity and respect, we are acknowledging their worth as a human being. We are letting them know they are valued and that we care about them. We make it clear that their efforts and contributions are appreciated and important. We step away from judgment and instead accept that person for who they are. This not only benefits them personally it also improves humanity as a whole. It increases compassion and tolerance. It promotes inclusion which allows us to look past perceived differences, and helps us to realize that we are all the same.

Every human being has a profound need for dignity and respect. They are absolute requirements to a fulfilling life. Without them society cannot flourish because, as a people, we cannot sustain progress if some are left behind.

We must always regard the right to dignity and respect for every human being as sacred and unassailable.


Read More

The Humanity of Autism

Michael Crawley - Saturday, January 25, 2014

Autism is often misunderstood by the public. Because it takes many forms and has a wide range of characteristics, its effects can be subtle or startling. When it’s diagnosed, entire families are changed forever. Communication and social interaction can be affected in varying degrees. It is rapidly on the rise, and there is still much about it that remains unresolved. However, one thing about autism is absolutely certain; the people who live with it are completely equal members of the human family. 
Read More

Our Friends

Michael Crawley - Monday, January 13, 2014

The loss we feel when a person dies is difficult to put into words. We are not only overwhelmed by the grief of losing them in the present, we must also contend with the heartbreaking knowledge that we face the future without them. It is the greatest pain we are forced to endure as human beings. And although we all know death is a natural part of the circle of life, accepting that fact does little to ease our suffering when we lose someone important to us. 
Read More

Special Olympics

Michael Crawley - Wednesday, January 01, 2014

How do you measure courage? That question can be answered by the individuals who joyfully participate in Special Olympics. 
Read More

The R-word

Michael Crawley - Friday, December 13, 2013

Each morning you get dressed and head downstairs for breakfast. Unfortunately, your mother softly tells you that the shirt you’ve chosen is probably not appropriate for the job you’ll soon be heading to. Disappointed, but accustomed to not always being able to have your way, you head back to your bedroom and make what everyone will think is a better selection. You do not realize that your mother is simply trying to protect you from the possible remarks that you might have to endure on the city bus as you ride to your job. 
Read More


Michael Crawley - Saturday, November 30, 2013

We all admire courage. Bravery is considered one of the finest qualities an individual can possess. That is why we honor those who demonstrate courage with medals and awards. We put them on a pedestal and look up to them. We emulate them and wonder if we could have the same level of fearlessness that they display. Our society makes heroes out of those who exhibit this important quality. We are drawn to it, and we seek it out from the everyday experience. Being courageous is an honorable thing. 
Read More

View Larger Map

The Meadows
Center for Opportunity

1000 South Kelly
Edmond, Oklahoma

phone: 405.348.4470
fax: 405.340.5395