Local School of Arts Giving Adults with Disabilities a New Chance at Life

By: Nicole Morten Email
By: Nicole Morten Email

At birth, a majority of us are not handed what most would consider a perfect life, and it’s ultimately what we do with what we've been handed that determines our destiny. Imagine being able to excel in life despite having a severe learning disability.

Well that's exactly what these men and women are learning to do every day through art-- right here in Panama City.

Playing music is just one of the many skills these adult students master at Pyramid Inc.

Pyramid Inc. a community resource center that gives adults with learning and developmental disabilities a chance at life; allowing each and every one of them the opportunity to learn skills that will prepare them for the work place.

Pyramid Inc. Director, Marcia Spurlock tells NewsChannel 7, "Our main goal is to teach people independent skills, daily skills and one way Pyramid does that is through arts."

Take 52-year-old Leonia Varner, she's been a student here for four years and has learned her passion for art and making jewelry.

"It’s more fun doing jewelry, but then again I like to sing and dance. I like to do it all because it's a nice place to be," said Leonia Varner.

Shea Hornsby is approaching her eighth year at Pyramid, “I just like coming here, because it helps me to make jewelry and learn on the computer."

"We teach everything from Independent living skills, from washing your hands up to computer skills, like Shea so she can learn data entry," said Spurlock.

At Pyramid, sky is the limit. Instructors will teach the students whatever they want to learn. Students can be creative while learning to: paint, sew, make jewelry, work on computers, and even learn sign language.

Plus there's a major bonus...students can earn a paycheck for their work.

"The necklace, the bracelets and the anklet bracelets I make them to sell," said Hornsby.

"The people at Pyramid get half and I get half," said Varner.

Before, the opportunities were limited, but now, because of pyramid, finding a job and becoming self-reliant are realistic goals for Leonia and Shea.

"It gives her a sense of meaning and it gives her something to do,” said Shea's Sister, Stacey Brannen. “She gets up and comes to Pyramid on her own, just like I get up and go to work, and it makes her feel good about herself. It’s a great help."

Leonia is currently working towards completing her GED.

Those who attend pyramid receive funding for services through the Medicaid waiver program; however, families can also pay independently or privately.

Spurlock said all of the students art work and jewlery are sold on a daily basis inside Pyramid's art gallery. For more information on Pyramid, and to learn how you can purchase item's in the gallery, click on the link below.

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