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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — We believe good news belongs on TV and the internet. That is why every Tuesday, as part of our Community Changers series, we connect you with everyday people and their organizations making Memphis better.

This week, we caught up with a group that focuses on what people can do instead of what they can’t.

Jo Anne Fusco is the Executive Director of Thrive Memphis. It’s a non profit organization that is a recreational day facility for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

“In the morning we do our circle time,” Jo Anne said. “…Mostly down syndrome and autism. The autism spectrum is huge. We have some that are very high functioning and can communicate and we have some that are non verbal.”

It’s a special place where those with special needs can thrive. In Tennessee, at the age of 22, kids age out of public school. That is why Thrive Memphis was created.

“They’re learning social skills, they’re learning how to be independent. Prepare meals for themselves,” Jo Anne said.

They even have summer school where each day is a new adventure. From art, to Legos, trips to a library, swimming and field trips to a barn. We caught up with Chris who has attended thrive Memphis for the last two years. He’ll challenge anyone to a uno game.

Chris’ favorite Grizzlies basketball player is Ja Morant. He loves petting the horses at the barn and feeding them carrots.

“If the kids/participants were at home, they’d watch tv all day, they’d sleep late, they would be playing computer games” Jo Anne said. “Why not come here and be with friend and do activities.”

It also gives family members and caregivers a chance to rest and Thrive Memphis knows how important that is.

That is why our anonymous donor wanted to give Thrive Memphis a thousand dollars, because when you include everyone in continued learning, friendship and a chance to participate in life’s fun activities our community will always thrive!

A true Community Changer.