Paying It Forward Is A Budaful Thing - Buda's Brightside VIDEO
The City's "Paying It Forward Is A Budaful Thing" series focuses on the people and organizations doing great things in the community. This time around we are featuring "Buda's Brightside".
“Buda’s Brightside is a non-profit for adults with developmental disabilities. It is about being a part of the community, it is about being empowered, it is about being an independent adult on our own.”
For Christina Trevino, who serves as director of Buda’s Brightside, watching her friends grow and prosper is what it’s all about.
“A large portion of this program is about having fun. Everything is masked in a good time,” said Trevino.
But there is a purpose behind the fun. The building is divided into different rooms all focused on different tasks.
“Our work room is set up as a free space. We have some educational tools in there. So if they want to work on that during their free time they are more than able to. Our front room they get to kind of hang out. There are video games in there. They can watch movies. It’s a relaxed space. We have an art room that they can come hang out in. They can work on creative class items that they can sell. Or they can work on something that they want to craft and take home.
Every Sunday, the Buda’s Brightside team sells their art at the Buda Farmers Market.
“We have a petty cash fund. Within our bank account there is a side fund. Whenever they use our card reader that is just for them. It’s for their pockets. We also have a game room in the back. Most of our guys like to hang out there. We have basketball, air hockey, ping pong. It does get a little loud in here sometimes. So there is a quiet side, there is a sensory side on the other side of the building for some of my friends when it becomes a little bit overwhelming.”
A key part of the program is getting the men and women of Buda’s Brightside out into the community.
“I truly feel like for so long we have just been holding them to ourselves and that is just a disservice to the community.”
The crew recently showed off their skills during a talent show.
“I pour every ounce of me into that talent show. Because to me it’s like this is your chance to shine and show the community what you really do.
At Buda’s Brightside they believe every day should be a fun experience, but it’s also about teaching life skills.
“Every Tuesday we make lunch together. So say they pick spaghetti, we have a grocery list that we go to. Once we make the list, there is a group of about six friends who will go to HEB and their job is to navigate through and find all the things we need.”
“In the morning we have a coffee shop at 9:00 a.m. and so that is kind of built in a sa work program. We choose one person every day to go into the kitchen and they are the barista for the day. The goal is that you can practice that skill and one day maybe be able to be a barista or work at a bakery where you are serving things.”
“We use a token economy in here, so we’re not taking their money for real. They earn their money by participating in the chores that happen day to day in here. If they do not do their chore then they do not have money in their account. Those are learning experiences. And this is a safe space to have those learning experiences.”
A more fun real-life experience is attending prom. The Carrington donates their space for free to Buda’s Brightside every year for the event.
“We get a DJ, everybody dresses up and they are in their beautiful gowns. We were dripping sweat. We were dancing so much in there. That is one of the things that they look forward to all year long is being able to go to their prom because they feel fancy. It is their special day.”
At the end of the day, Christina wants her friends to be treated like everybody else.
“I think that the community can learn so much from the obstacles that my friends have built in every day. That doesn’t change any of their abilities whatsoever.”