Ability Center of Virginia

To positively affect the quality of life for persons with physical and intellectual disabilities and their families creating greater independence and inclusion in the community.

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Helping children and adults with disabilities lead productive, happy lives.
Dear Ability Center of Virginia,

Our daughter, Ashley (age 23) is diagnosed with CHARGE Syndrome, which is an acronym for a number of anomalies, but mainly includes vision, hearing impairments, developmental and intellectual delays. Ashley and I were introduced to the ACVA 2 ½ years ago when she registered for the "By the Sea" Prom event. I remember she was quite anxious about meeting new people at the dance. Fortunately, the event was filled with positive energy and a spirit of "All are Welcome" which helped Ashley to quickly acclimate. This event was the springboard for new experiences to come.

In September 2016, Ashley was invited to join the ACVA's ArtWorks program. Despite her unique set of special needs, the staff embraced her inclusion in their art program. As they made custom cards, the staff taught her creative techniques, e.g., stamping, choosing paper (solid versus pattern), selecting ink colors, and applying embellishments and stickers. Ashley was already a dedicated pen pal with family and friends. Now, involved in the card making process, she was in her element. Her letter writing skills improved and she now writes letters and sends cards weekly. She is proud of her custom cards, and the feedback she receives encourages her to keep designing.

Anna Bellars, Program Director, is an expert at motivating individuals, tapping into their underdeveloped talent and helping them to reach their potential. Along with staff and volunteers, Anna has helped Ashley to gain valuable experiences by partnering her with other individuals in the program, and kindling "working together". Regardless of each participant's abilities, the ACVA's staff is passionate about fostering an environment that exudes a "You got this" atmosphere.

This fall, Ashley began attending the ACVA's Adult Day Social & Recreation Program. The ACVA approaches Ashley's, and all participant's needs as opportunities to gain independence, improve social skills and expand community inclusion. There are many types of community-based services, but the ACVA's approach to service delivery is unique. The ACVA successfully recruits, hires, and retains capable and courteous staff and volunteers.

The ACVA (formerly Cerebral Palsy of Virginia) has been in existence for over 30, serving over 500 families annually. Continuing to foster an atmosphere of acceptance and a "We're in this Together", giving individuals with disabilities (and their families) a sense of hope and possibility. The ACVA creates miracles every day.


Carolyn Bruno
Parent of ACVA Participant