FRIENDSWOOD — Should you be privileged to meet Kate Wills at Friendswood’s A Treasure of Dreams, a ministry to the intellectually challenged, bear in mind there’s one word that shouldn’t enter your mind, much less your conversation.
That word is “hopeless.” And it was the catalyst for all that has happened since.
A few years ago, a newly graduated Wills returned home to mourn the loss of a beloved parent, but out of that wrenching period came a new ministry that has since filled up her heart and her days with an unexpected commitment and unplanned blessing. Her radical change of course — from the comfortable future of being a professional psychologist to the daily oversight of a ministry — came about in this way:
“This wasn’t my plan. I was heading for my master’s degree, but when my mother died, I needed to grieve,” she said. “I took what was supposed to be a short-term job at residential facility in my hometown in Pennsylvania.
“The director there asked me to work with a Down syndrome patient that he said was just ‘hopeless’ and who he felt was also costing the company too much,” she said. “I was both enraged and determined to prove him wrong. I felt God telling me, ‘I need you to be the voice of these.’”
After six months of personal work with that patient, she was ready to reach out to meet a wider need. The faith-based Friendswood charity she founded after moving to Texas is known as A Treasure of Dreams. It offers “dayhab” to a small, growing group of adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
In addition to the usual educational options it offers frequent outings into the community where different lessons can be learned. Treasure takes even a unique turn in offering her charges a chance to contribute back as they visit nursing facilities as ambassadors of hope to fellowship with and encourage those in assisted-living or nursing homes.
“I like it here,” said Trey Neumann, who was busily working on puzzle-like project. “I like Miss Kate, too. I have been coming here a long time.”
It’s a costly ministry that began in Wills’ apartment and now fills a clean and colorful leased suite. They welcome support from individuals and churches and are about at capacity now.
“If you don’t dedicate your whole life to this type of ministry, you’re not going to make it,” said Pam Henson, a staff member. “Kate is extremely dedicated to her ‘treasures’ (clients), and whatever they need she will get — even if it has to come out of her own pocket. She’s amazing.”
Gathered around the square array of white tables, Wills’ group is working on mastering life and social skills, practicing activities that build coordination and even, occasionally, line dancing. The staff quickly join in the latter, and the atmosphere is brightly cheerful, positive and personal. Bible reading is encouraged, and bilingual help is available.
“My treasures have a lot more love and compassion than most people do,” Wills said. “They didn’t ask for their conditions, but they are God’s children, too.”
• A building of our very own (they currently fill their leased suite)
• A 15-passenger van
• A full-size copy machine
• Tables and chairs
• Grab bars
• Patio furniture
• Home Furniture
• Household items
• Gift cards for community outings ($200-plus)
To donate, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 281-482-3163.
A Treasure of Dreams is a 501(c)(3) entity.