Chris Seay, of Seay Construction, along with friends and family, gave a lasting gift to Glenwood, Inc. this year.
Glenwood provides behavioral health care and educational services for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and severe emotional disturbances.
Glenwood incorporated 43 years ago to provide services for children with special needs and now offers over 20 programs for individuals, spanning all ages. In 1974, Glenwood began with just The Allan Cott School using space donated by St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Eighteen students with ASD or severe emotional disorders were enrolled. This was the beginning of Glenwood, Inc. Seay’s mother, Shirley Seay, was a co-founder of Allan Cott School.
Today, Allan Cott School is a part of Glenwood’s main campus behind Liberty Park, serving children with ASD up to age 21. “Our children need to learn and apply basic skills to function independently in a home. We identified a large storage space that we felt, with the correct visionary and builder, could become a small-scale mock bedroom, living, dining, bath, laundry and kitchen area in which to train children to perform basic, daily tasks such as bed making, cleaning, washing and drying clothes, cooking and dish washing,” says Dr. Shana Smith, Glenwood’s Director of Education Services.
To commemorate Mrs. Seay’s early contribution to the school, her sister, Peggy Balliet, heard of the need for life skills for these children and began immediately raising money to create The Center. Quickly after she began, Shirley Seay’s son, Chris Seay, and her grandson, Jonathon Seay, offered their services and the resources of their business, Seay Construction, to build The Center. They also enlisted the generosity of friends and business partners, as well.
“The Balliet and Seay efforts, along with the generous donations from their friends, family and partners, made this longtime dream a reality and a bigger success than we could have imagined,” says Smith. “Most of our students have sensory concerns, and we have also wanted a room to help them with those. Funds raised for the Life Skills Center exceeded that need and helped us create a Multi-Sensory Room for these precious children.”
There is now a plaque on the hallway at Allan Cott School with Shirley Seay’s image on it officially naming the area the Shirley G. Seay Life Skills Training Center.
After Chris and Jonathon Seay came back to Allan Cott recently to receive a commemorative book, Chris said, “When walking through the completed project and viewing the plaque, we were able to observe children using the area and learning from their teacher. It was special to take in the moment of three generations of Seays coming together to participate in the great work that Glenwood and Allan Cott School perform on a daily basis.”