Local couple turns dreams of creating a safe space for those with FASD into a reality
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, commonly known as FASD, can occur in babies who are exposed to alcohol before they are born.
Cliff and Kat Meinhardt started their journey back in December 2022 in an effort to provide, essentially, what could become a forever home for those with FASD.
They were handed the keys to officially be able to start renovations back in May 2023.
Cliff said that residents will participate in jobs on their campus such as their greenhouse, ground service maintenance, and food service work. This will give residents independence.
“It’ll provide good security. Our individuals here will not be preyed upon by the general public,” said Cliff. “It seems like the people our there that would prey know exactly what they’re looking for.
Their newest program is raising and training service dogs.
Residents will raise and train the dogs for other individuals with FASD.
Kat said that individuals with FASD typically function at half to — two thirds their age.
“As parents raising individuals and several children that have been prenatally exposed, it’s been something that we have heard from other parents around the county that they are so thankful and so hopeful that their child is going to have a place to go when they turn 18 so that has been a good uplift as well,” said Kat.
The nonprofit organization has one resident that has been there for three months and has made Dream Acres their forever home.
Cliff and Kat said that Dream Acres goal is to provide the hope that individuals may not have had before.
“Bringing out first resident on board is a milestone, an accomplishment. We are so looking forward to this place really up and going and bringing more and more residents here to really let this place thrive and be what it needs to be,” said Cliff.
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