Melwood’s Big Announcement for People With Differing Abilities

Tuesday, August 1, 2017 – Two organization that provide jobs and life skills opportunities to people with “differing disabilities” are joining forces to enhance the quality of life for hundreds of people with disabilities. Today, Taylor Thomas visited the beautiful campus of the Melwood Horticultural and Training Center in Upper Marlboro to talk with the people behind the mission and give us a rare look at why this facility is so important to the community. Cari DeSantis is the President and CEO of Melwood.

Melwood and Linden Resources, two very similar organizations are merging. The significance of the merger is that it will enhance the quality of life for hundreds of people with disabilities (or differing abilities as we prefer at Melwood), as well as veterans and active duty military by providing more job opportunities, life skills programs, and recreation.

Since 1963, Melwood, a 501(3)(c) organization has envisioned a world in which people with differing abilities are fully included by advocating for and empowering them to transform their own lives through unique opportunities to work and play in the community. Melwood has a highly competitive and inclusive workforce – providing a range of services to federal, state and local governments, and the private sector. Using an innovative and effective social entrepreneurial model, Melwood offers job placement, job training, life skills for independence, and support services to more than 2,150 people each year in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, Maryland, and Virginia. We also provide recreation opportunities through seasonal inclusive camp programs for children and adults with and without differing abilities. In addition, Melwood provides employment and support services to veterans and active duty military members coping with a variety of combat-related traumas such as PTSD, traumatic brain injury, and substance abuse. Melwood employs more than 1,300 workers, including nearly 800 persons with differing abilities.

Renee Nash


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Renee Nash, Director of Information and Public Affairs for WHUR, is a well-respected journalist who has covered a range of issues from local and national politics, to healthcare reform and civil rights. She has also spearheaded numerous award-winning projects including radiothons, town hall meetings and food and clothing drives. Over her 25-year career at WHUR, she has been a writer, reporter, producer and anchor. Renee serves on the boards of many organizations including the Edith P. Wright Breast Cancer Foundation and Sisters of Hope. She is the proud mom of Dominique and Delante.

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