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Post by Karim Shamsi-Basha from Alabama NewsCenter
It’s hard not to smile when you hear laughter.
Robin Hall, executive director of the Randolph County Learning Center (RCLC), enjoys hearing her clients from the next room. She also loves serving and supporting them in their activities.
The RCLC provides community-based educational and adaptive daily living skills training, as well as instruction in academics, socialization, communication, personal care and hygiene for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“I love being here day in and day out. It’s very rewarding,” Hall said. “There are plenty of places for children with disabilities, but not many for adults.”
The RCLC was founded in the mid-1970s by a group of parents to help support their children with disabilities. They only intended to raise money at the time for a bike hike, but enough donations came in to start the RCLC. Today, the organization focuses on adults.
The RCLC was thriving with a large number of clients when the COVID-19 pandemic hit last year. The center had to shut down during the health crises but did reopen in the fall.
“We were shut down in March of 2020 for six months. People with disabilities have a high chance of catching COVID-19,” Hall said. “We continued checking on them at home and we offered any assistance that was needed. In September, we came back but practiced caution with masks, social distancing and temperature checking. Everyone was very cooperative.”
To continue serving and supporting her clients, Hall depends on grants and funding from contributors such as the Alabama Power Foundation.
“Alabama Power Foundation has been with us since the beginning,” she said. “We had bike rides and mullet tosses where they participated and helped us to raise funds, and they have given us grants as well. The Alabama Power Foundation and Alabama Power are a huge part of the RCLC. We have received grants from the Alabama Power Foundation every year.”
This year’s theme for the RCLC is “Come Together.” Hall sees that as an invitation for everyone to unite and serve.
“We have no barriers for anyone; all are welcome to come here. We educate everyone on what is going on across the country with social justice,” Hall said. “Also, all of our clients are registered to vote. We teach the importance of that here at the RCLC.”
Despite the challenges of working at the RCLC, Hall has spent the past 33 years serving in various capacities, and she is not planning on leaving anytime soon.
“It’s been a wonderful experience and I wouldn’t give it up for anything. It’s a blessing that the community rallies around us every year. I support my friends to have a better life, it’s just wonderful,” Hall said.
“One of the things I love the most is hearing them laugh.”
For more information visit, www.RCLC.net.
Alabama Bright Lights captures the stories, through words, pictures and video, of some of our state’s brightest lights who are working to make Alabama an even better place to live, work and play. Award-winning journalist Karim Shamsi-Basha tells their inspiring stories. Email him comments, as well as suggestions on people to profile, at [email protected].
Categories: Disability Talk Stuff