Nonprofits founder followed her heart
It took Spring resident Rachel Nava sometime to find her professional niche. But now that she has, Nava says she is not looking back.
Nava is the owner and executive director of Different Abilities Inc., a nonprofit day program for adults with developmental disabilities, which opened its doors in February. New as it may be, the company is obviously needed as it serves almost 20 individuals and is already expanding to double its capacity.
“We just got another 3,000 square feet,” Nava said. “With half of that, we’re opening up our own resale shop. I’m thinking we’ll be able to serve 40 or 50. Then it’ll be a waiting list after that.”
The facility is located at 301 Wells Fargo Drive, Suite C7, Houston 77090 and is open Monday through Friday, as well as holding volunteer events two Saturdays a month.
“On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays,” said Nava, “we take a group and they go over to the recycling facility and they actually work three hours a day. They’re paid minimum wage. They get a paycheck every two weeks. That way, they’re being a productive citizen.”
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Nava said, the group volunteers their services at the resale shops of two other nonprofit organizations and that when her business opens its own resale shop in June that she will employ adults from her program.
“We will pay them to work over there in the resale shop,” she said. “It’s a really big deal about them being able to earn money. We have one 28-year old man who was disabled in a car accident. Because he can’t hold a traditional job, he’s never gotten paid.
“When he got his first paycheck, his mother was in tears. Some of our people have seizures and can’t work. We can supervise them here so they’ll be able to work. We always said if we can’t find them a job, we’ll create them a job.”
More information about the facility and its ongoing activities can be found on the nonprofit’s website www.differentabilitiesinc.org.
When Nava began her medical career as a licensed vocational nurse, she was unaware which way her professional direction would take her. “When I first started, I did my internship then I did Med Search, worked home health, all that.
“I just kept trying to find my niche. Then I called up this job and worked for a company that does basically what I’m doing and I just fell in love with the population. I don’t have a child or anything with a disability, I just have a heart. Once I went there I knew this is what I wanted to do.”
Born and raised in Spring, Nava has three children ages 15, 12 and 4, who often help her with her work. She says she has little time for hobbies but does not mind because, “I don’t want to call my job a job because I love what I do.”
Name: Rachel Nava
Occupation: Different Abilities Inc. Executive Director
Fast Fact: Although Rachel Nava has a business serving developmentally disabled adults, she began her medical career as a licensed vocational nurse.
Julia Bishop Beautie is a freelance journalist. She may be reached at email@example.com.
Photo credit: Contributed photo.
Cutline: From left, Different Abilities Executive Director Rachel Nava working at I.M. Green Recycling at Meyer Park with Marty Burcham, Hannah Hafer, Stephanie Franco and Elva Whatley. Different Abilities, a daycare facility, is expanding to serve up to 40-50 developmentally adults.
Local Advertising by PaperG