LifeWorks remodel

An important benefit of Life Works' renovation is now being able to use the sensory room to its full capacity it was intended for, according to Executive Director David Hill.

LifeWorks unveiled a recently renovated wing of its building Thursday that will allow the growing organization to better serve people with disabilities.

The Longview agency provides free services to people with developmental disabilities and their families. The new space includes new offices, a dedicated training room, a day services room and a family meeting room.

Wendy Keegan, director of development, said LifeWorks now serves more than 7,000 people per year. That number has grown dramatically since the organization was founded in 1980, she said.

“It’s great, I can’t even tell you what a difference it’s made,” Keegan said about the renovation. “It expands the ability of our staff to provide services to people who have often never had services.”

Services to help disabled children transition into adult life are the fastest growing program, Keegan said.

“Parents calling say they wish they had this a long time ago,” she said.

Life Works bought the 18,000-square-foot building at 906 New York Street about 12 years ago, Keegan said. A portion of it was warehouse space used for storage until the renovation, she said. It took more than $550,000 in grants and donations to refurbish, Keegan said.

The largest grant came from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust for $250,000, Keegan said. The Apex, Wollenberg and Firstenburg foundations, as well as the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington all contributed to the project. The Life Works Board of Directors have also held fundraising events over the years to make the project happen, she said.

Besides adding new spaces, the renovation also allows the organization’s sensory room to be used full time, rather than often converting it for training, Keegan said. The room is a safe space for children with disabilities to play, for therapy or just for fun, she said.

Executive Director David Hill said the renovation has been discussed for 10 years. As the organization grew to about 280 employees, the need for a training room became clear, he said.

The new days services room provides a space for staff, classes and other meetings, Hill said. The area includes a family meeting room so families can have a private space to meet with service providers, he said.

Hill said the expansion is just one more step in the organization’s goal to “serve the unserved” and be the place for people to go to connect with resources.

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