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Nonprofit fundraises to build campus for young adults with intellectual disabilities

The 20-acre campus would have educational and recreational programming designed to help participants 'find fulfillment and pursue their passions'
Angels' Castle Rendering
Posted at 11:58 PM, Sep 16, 2023

INDIAN HILL, Ohio — A local non-profit thinks they have a solution for a growing problem facing young adults with intellectual disabilities: socializing after they age out of high school.

After purchasing 20 acres in Mt. Healthy, Angels’ Castle is fundraising to open an educational and recreational campus. The group said they’re on target for the project’s cost of $17 million.

“In this country and pretty much all over the world, there's hardly any opportunities for this population once they age out of high school,” said Louie Ryes, treasurer of the organization.

Once complete, the campus would welcome about 80 participants. There’s living spaces for 32 participants, Ryes said. The campus would be tuition-based.

Educational programming would range from financial literacy to ‘how to live by yourself’, and recreation would include activities like horseback riding and other outdoor recreation.

Angels’ Castle founder Dr. Beatriz H. Porras’ son has an intellectual disability. She said providing socialization opportunities for young adults like her son is critical.

“We really want to do everything right from the beginning, to offer education, to offer love and a nurturing environment,” she said. “Where they can grow and enjoy life.”

Porras said she has spoken with other parents who can’t find a program that fits their children’s needs. That’s what motivated her to find something.

A May 2023 Center for Disease Control study found that one in 36 8-year-old children have autism, a number which has grown from one in 150 in 2000.

That’s a sign of the importance of these spaces, Porras said: “we need to incorporate this population into our lives.”

Reyes said it’s his relationship with his brother that keeps pushing him to make the Castle Angels’ vision a reality: “Growing up with Marco really touched me and the core of what I want to do is I just want to help these people feel more accepted.”

The group is in the permitting phase and hopes to be open in the next two to three years.