Nonprofit Spotlight: Irene Wortham Center

Learn more about the life-spanning programs provided by Irene Wortham Center and how you can help them meet their mission.
Calvin, 30-year participant in Irene Wortham Center | Photo from Irene Wortham Center

Did you know that the unemployment rate for individuals with disabilities is nearly 11%? That’s almost four times the unemployment rate of Buncombe County as a whole (3.1%)! 

From birth, many people with developmental and socioeconomic challenges are at a disadvantage. Luckily for local children and adults, there are many programs in action that believe in the value and promise of every person. Irene Wortham Center is one such agency that works to empower all people throughout their lives. 

We invite you to learn more about the life-spanning programs provided by Irene Wortham Center and how you can help them meet their mission.

What is the Irene Wortham Center?

For nearly 60 years, Irene Wortham Center has helped children and adults with developmental and/or socioeconomic challenges lead healthier, happier, and more independent lives. They provide exceptional care to clients and their families through an early learning center, adult day activities, supported employment, and residential homes.

The mission of Irene Wortham Center is to help every person reach their full potential from birth throughout their lives. The Asheville-based organization was named after Irene McLeod Wortham, the first special education teacher in Western North Carolina. The center honors her memory by acting as a leading voice for those with developmental and/or socioeconomic challenges.

What Services does Irene Wortham Center Offer?

Irene Wortham Center offers four core services: an early learning center, adult day activities, supported employment, and residential homes.

Early Learning Center

Irene Wortham’s early learning center is a five-star-rated developmental day program, the state’s highest rating. Children from six weeks in age through pre-kindergarten with or without developmental challenges learn, play, and grow together in an integrated setting. Small class sizes allow teachers to focus on individual learning styles. And highly qualified and medically trained staff offer onsite physical, speech, and occupational therapy for children who are not meeting their milestones.

Adult Day Activities

Established in 1989, the CARF-accredited adult day activity program builds individualized service plans for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Their familiar and flexible environment encourages growth through productivity, academic coursework, independence in daily living skills, socialization, and community integration. A state-of-the-art facility, specialized equipment, customized multi-sensory environment room, and ADA-compliant outdoor space provide integration and inclusion to all participants. 

Supported Employment

Through four phases of support, Irene Wortham’s highly-skilled coaches and dedicated employers help individuals find meaningful and competitive employment in the community. Participants work side-by-side with supportive coaches, and business partners receive ongoing support to assure the client’s success. To date, more than 120 individuals have found meaningful employment through the program.

Residential Homes

Irene Wortham Center manages three homes that are licensed as Intermediate Care Facilities for persons with intellectual and co-existing developmental disorders. Two dozen residents from early adolescents to seniors receive comprehensive, around-the-clock individualized care from expertly trained staff. Through specialized therapies, education, and community inclusion, these residents are encouraged and empowered to live wonderful lives every day.

Get More by Giving Back

Every day, our agents and staff impress us by their involvement in strengthening community efforts through service and financial support. We encourage you to get involved, too.

Help support local children and adults with developmental challenges now and in the future! Give of your time and money to an organization that means something to you. Reach out to Irene Wortham Center or contact your Beverly-Hanks agent to learn about local efforts to make a difference in the lives of people in our community.

Irene Wortham Center

916 W Chapel Road, Asheville | (828) 274-7518 


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