Vicki LaRoche/The Next Stop Foundation
The Next Stop was founded in 2006 by parents Stu and Vicki LaRoche when two of their children who are intellectually disabled faced the uncertainly of what happens when they age out of the school system at the age of 22. The fear was that they would spend days in non-stimulating environments, isolated from their peers, and feeling unproductive in their lives. When this fear was validated by other families in the same situation and stories of downward spirals of loneliness and depression were confirmed, The Next Stop was born.
What happens when the school bus stops coming and adults with special needs lose their consistent peer group and teacher mentors? With limited options for all young adults with special needs, The Next Stop sought to provide a place where social engagement, recreation and life application learning continued. A place where the risk of social and cognitive decline was reduced as members participated in stimulating, goal oriented and meaningful activities each day.
The Next Stop serves adults with special needs who are developmentally disabled or have suffered a traumatic brain injury. Uniquely, The Next Stop is not a “day program” or a “respite facility”.
Kim Phillips/North Gwinnett Co-Op
The North Gwinnett Cooperative was formed in 1991 as a ministry that provides, food, clothing, financial assistance and spiritual support to those in need in the Buford, Sugar Hill and Suwanee communities The North Gwinnett Co-Op is currently serving over 12,000 families a year.