By BROOKE WANSER
Local leaders gathered at a Franklin home on Monday morning to celebrate the beginning of renovations on the aging property, which houses four ladies with developmental disabilities.
A check for $133,750 was presented by the Tennessee Housing Development Agency to Waves, Inc, a Williamson County nonprofit that aims to helps individuals and families by providing therapies and programs to children and employment and vocation development to adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
The house is one of eight homes in the county operated by Waves, which is headed by executive director Lance Jordan and began nearly 45 years ago with a family in Fairview.
Jordan said the goal for residents was to allow them, “to remain safely in their home, and to “age in place and to call it home for as long as they want to be there.”
Jordan began working with the organization in the 90s, before leaving for a decade and returning. He said he had personally pulled one of the home’s current residents out of Clover Bottom Developmental Center, the state’s now-defunct institution for those with disabilities.
“It’s a full circle,” Jordan said of his journey away from and then back to Waves. “There’s a personal satisfaction that goes along with it.”
Rep. Sam Whitson said he appreciated the work of Waves on a personal level; his granddaughter was born with Down syndrome, and she became involved in Waves’ preschool intervention program.
“It made a big difference in the life of my granddaughter and our family, and I sincerely appreciate that,” Whitson said. “You don’t realize that until you’re faced with this, how important this organization is for families in our community.”
Diane Giddens, chief of staff for Mayor Rogers Anderson was present at the event; Giddens has served with Waves in numerous capacities after her brother, Jimmy Dean, a Waves client, died.
Mayor Anderson recognized Giddens as “the best chief of staff in the entire nation.”
“Look at the organization and who it supports and what it does,” Anderson said. “I got to see the finished product for Diane’s brother and what it meant for that family, Diane’s mother and her as a sister to know her brother was being well taken care of.”
Denise McBride, the Middle Tennessee liason for the Tennessee Housing Development Agency, said the grant funding would go towards bathroom renovations, widening the doorways, and improving the air conditioning unit and energy efficiency in the home.
McBride said she was surprised and impressed by the response of city officials when she invited them to the event. “Everyone was very aware of Waves, and they were so eager to be there,” she said. They even said, ‘Let me change something on my calendar to be there.’”