Winston-Salem Journal: For the past 15 years, a group of prominent businessmen and a group of developmentally disabled women — two sets of people who otherwise would likely never cross each other’s paths — have forged a friendship built on mutual respect and admiration.
“We just began simply — going to a baseball game or going to a basketball game or going to a movie or to get ice cream or going to watch the Tanglewood lights — you know, anything that anybody would enjoy if they lived in Winston-Salem,” said Tom Lawson, a businessman with Bank of America who had wanted volunteer opportunities. “And what we found was the more that we did things with them, the more committed we became to them. And that wasn’t planned, it wasn’t strategic, it was just something that we began doing and the next thing we knew, these folks were a part of our lives.”
The women live in two group homes on Reynolda Road. The homes are run by UMAR, a nonprofit founded by the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. The nonprofit advocates for adults with developmental disabilities and provides them with safe places to live and enriching activities. UMAR runs 24 group homes from Greensboro to Gastonia to Asheville.
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