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The Brookwood Community: Magnificent Residential Community for People With Special Needs

I live in Houston and love writing reviews of the local restaurants I visit with family and friends.

Entrance to the Brookwood Cafe and Gift Shop

Entrance to the Brookwood Cafe and Gift Shop

Brookwood Community

The Brookwood Community is just west of Houston, Texas. With the spark of an idea plus much research in the area of finding and maintaining a suitable, life-enhancing home for adults with special needs, this stellar residential community now exists.

Ever since its humble beginnings in 1985, it has continued to grow and envelop the resident citizens with beautiful surroundings in every sense of the word. The residents who are fortunate enough to call Brookwood their home do what others do. They work, pray, and play together like other loving families.

How this all came to fruition is due to one lady in particular. But successfully operating this community is due to the efforts of many individuals, corporations, volunteers, and everyday people who merely wish to shop for terrific gifts, purchase healthy and beautiful garden plants or want to dine in their cafe on some mouth-watering cuisine.

Inside of building looking out towards the back

Inside of building looking out towards the back

Special Needs and Civil Rights

People are born every day with special needs. Others in our society become disabled due to disease or accidents which cause irreparable harm. Some of these needs are visually apparent, and others are not so easily discerned from casual appearance as the scars may be emotional or mental.

In the United States, ever since the Civil Rights Act of 1964, continuing efforts have been made to assist individuals in various categories via federal laws. The Civil Rights Act initially addressed discrimination against people because of religion, race, or gender.

Many laws have to do with educating disabled children, such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and its predecessor, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975. Special needs children now have access to education and training from birth to 18 or 21. Special accommodations can happen for each student, and many of these students lead successful lives.

The most current Americans with Disabilities Act signed into law by President George Bush in 1990 addresses adults and prohibits discrimination from employment based upon their handicaps. This act affected many businesses and entities around the country. The new law mandated things like creating ramps, and larger bathroom stalls, to enable easy access for individuals using wheelchairs. People with special needs could now compete on a more level playing field.

All these laws have helped to some extent. But there are still many folks with special needs who lack an environment where they can thrive, particularly after they reach adulthood.

Origin

Founder and executive director emeritus Yvonne Tuttle Streit is responsible for the Brookwood Community's existence. The link to Brookwood Community and some of these videos tell that story. Suffice it to say that when her daughter became impaired after an illness, this lady tried her best to move heaven and earth so that her daughter could lead the best life possible.

Most people survive having mumps with no long-term side effects, but her daughter Vicki was not so lucky. Ensuing encephalitis and meningitis left her with residual brain damage. In trying to help her daughter get the best care, Yvonne Tuttle Streit began to meet others who had similar needs for their children.

Brookwood Community became a reality due to Mrs. Streit's successful fundraising efforts and raising awareness of the need for a residential community where people with special needs could happily live out their lives.

It is situated 40 miles west of Houston in Brookshire, south of Interstate 10, and encompasses over 475 acres in rolling countryside. On-site for the residents are living quarters, a non-denominational chapel, a nursery, gift shop, cafe, and even such things as a gymnasium and swimming pool.

The setting couldn't be prettier for this part of Texas! Over one hundred residents are fortunate to call this place their home. People can arrange tours of the campus by calling this number: 281-375-2158. The address is 1752 FM 1489, Brookshire, Texas 77423.

Plant Nursery

One way for people to beautify their homes and gardens is to purchase the beautiful plants grown by the residents and volunteers at the Brookwood Community and the other outlying storefronts.

10222C Westheimer, Houston, TX 77042 is one of the locations, and the other is in Old Town Spring, which is north of Houston. That address is 318 Gentry Street, Spring, TX 77373. At all three locations, the plants are of premium quality. The pricing is competitive with other retail establishments selling similar items.

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The residents at Brookwood Community learn to master the gardening skills and are also able to earn wages by doing this type of work. Tending plants and watching things grow and flourish make for a good feeling, as any gardener knows.

Gift Shop

There is a fantastic gift shop, which has grown over the years to the massive place it has become today. Similar items are also available for sale at the Westheimer store and Old Town Spring.

While the residents do not make everything sold there, hand-painted pottery and other items blend with the other products acquired. Visiting the gift shop presents a visual feast for the eyes. They decorate the shops seasonally, as some of my photos show.

Volunteers cheerfully assist one with purchases. You can find everything from blends of different teas to cowboy hats, statues, furniture, artwork, dishes to table décor, jewelry to belts and scarves, and much too much to individually mention is in these gift shops locations. It is a perfect place to find something special for oneself or others.

Prices vary from small pocket change to some that are higher priced. There is something to suit nearly everyone's budget. Knowing that a part of one's expenditure also helps a good cause makes shopping there delightful.

Brookwood Cafe

This cafe at Brookwood is a delightful place to dine! The food is delicious and well prepared by a chef trained at the New York Culinary Institute of America. Items include savory homemade soups and sandwiches to entrée portions of delightful sounding pasta, mouthwatering fresh seafood, enticing vegetarian dishes, as well as tempting meat dishes. Naturally, there are also tasty desserts to satisfy one's sweet tooth.

They use the freshest of ingredients, and Chef Laura McGuire's deft hand in creating these masterpieces will have you wishing to return and sample more of the delectable items on the menu. So far, every time I have dined there, I find myself ordering another tasty seafood entrée. Others around me have always said their food selections are delicious as well. The plating is very eye-appealing.

A folding wall can partition the beautifully decorated room to make one part more intimate for groups who wish to meet and dine there. Many wedding receptions occur here, and the room can display a dance floor and a stage. With the ambiance of a fireplace at one end of the room and the glass windows and doors overlooking the well-manicured and landscaped lawn and garden area in the back, this site is booked continuously throughout the year.

For reservations to have lunch or arrange other meetings and events, this is the number to call: 281-375-2400. Lunch hours are daily from 11 AM to 2 PM.

Special Place

If you are not already familiar with what a special place the Brookwood Community truly is, hopefully, you are now enlightened. Not only do people with special needs live, work, and play in this fantastic residential community, but the community at large outside of Brookwood is welcome to come and enjoy this most beautiful of places.

Sources:

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 17, 2021:

Hi Brenda,

The greenhouse at the Brookwood Community is a large one! The way that they can showcase plants and other items for sale is fantastic. The residents not only work with plants, but they also paint pottery, serve food in the restaurant, etc. It is a wonderful place!

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on March 17, 2021:

This one sounds like one great place.

We don't have anything comparable around my neck of the woods.

The pictures are beautiful. I love the flowerbeds & fountain & pond.

I think it's great they let residents help with the planting and growing of these flowers...and then to sell them also.

What a great idea.

I was surprised by the pictures...it looks like a giant greenhouse.

I thinknthis community has what it needs to help out those with disabilities.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 17, 2021:

Hi Manatita,

One person's inspiration has turned out to help a vast community of members who get to live at this fantastic place. It also serves others who volunteer, go there to purchase plants, dine there, etc. Love personified is a good description of the Brookwood Community.

manatita44 from london on March 16, 2021:

This is an amazing, state-of-the-art community. It's inspirational to see what one person's vision can do. Alas! It tends to begin, only with the loss of someone dear to them. Still, it serves its purpose. Glad you could help also. Much Love.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 16, 2021:

Hi Adrienne,

Thanks for your comment and for bringing more attention to the wonderful work that is done at the Brookwood Community. Lucky are the people who get to live there! Community support is key to their success.

Adrienne Farricelli on March 16, 2021:

Thank you for sharing your insight on this gem of a place. The Brookwood community sounds very resourceful and it's great they are doing so much to help others.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 16, 2021:

Hi Devika,

Yes, places like this need to be highly publicized as they do so much good. Brookwood Community is a great place for the residents to live, work, worship, and play. It is about time that I make a trip to check out their nursery plants again.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on March 16, 2021:

Peggy Woods This place sounds great and so worth a trip. Informative and interesting as well. Such places need your write up.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 15, 2021:

Hi Sandra,

I am glad that you have experienced the Brookwood Community personally. The plants and other objects sold are top quality, as is the food in the restaurant. I hope more people learn about it if they live in the Houston metro area, and support it.

Sandra on March 15, 2021:

I have been to Brookwood. It is very impressive and highly recommended for a visit and the restaurant.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 18, 2018:

Hi Ethel,

Happy to be able to showcase the Brookwood Community. It is a fabulous place!

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on September 18, 2018:

This is a very impressive place and you have done it justice Peggy.

We all need more places like this.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 29, 2016:

Hi aesta1,

I agree with you in that what they are accomplishing is wonderful.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 28, 2016:

Hi Susie,

Brookwood certainly is a beautiful place and how they help people with disabilities is equally beautiful. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on January 27, 2016:

What a great place and community. It is admirable what they're doing.

Susie Lehto from Minnesota on January 26, 2016:

Brookwood looks like the ideal community to live for just about anyone. I would never be able to afford such a lifestyle but I am pleased that many do and can enjoy it. I love the pond and all the rock landscaping...that is where I would spend time in my own thoughts. Gorgeous place!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 27, 2013:

Hi Roberta,

I wonder why you had a problem pinning this? All of my photos are original. Oh well...at least you were finally able to share the good work done by this organization. Thank you!

RTalloni on November 22, 2013:

After having the photo rejected at Pinterest before, I've finally been able to pin this to my Leadership/... board to help highlight the work being done at this beautiful community. Thanks again for writing about it!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 09, 2013:

Hi again Suzanne,

Am sure the businesses appreciated your expertise in helping to raise funding to implement the spirit of the law with regard to complying with the ADA act. Sounds like you have had some interesting jobs!

justmesuzanne from Texas on May 09, 2013:

I think many businesses didn't know - perhaps especially in the southern states. In California, we were very proactive in getting the information out to local businesses and being a strong presence in the community. :)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 09, 2013:

Hi Suzanne,

I think that it is wonderful that businesses have to accommodate handi-capped individuals as well as able bodied ones. Hope that you did not misunderstand. It is true that prior to the passage of the Americans for Disabilities Act, there were many places in which a disabled individual no matter how qualified, would have found it impossible to work in many environments. The ADA just helped to level the field somewhat.

Your job sounded interesting. I wonder if all businesses knew that there were grants available to help make changes to their physical surroundings?

Brookwood is an amazing place. Thanks for your comment and votes.

justmesuzanne from Texas on May 09, 2013:

Great HUB on a lovely community!

Regarding the statement about the ADA:

"This affected many businesses and entities around the country which suddenly mandated spending more money for such things as ramps for easy access for wheelchair bound individuals; bathroom stalls which could accommodate wheelchairs and many other things which prior to that law made it impossible for disabled people to compete on a level playing field with non-disabled individuals."