Austin American Statesman
WORK, ACHIEVEMENT AND FRIENDSHIP
Resident Barbara Taylor comforts her friend, Megan Lazaretti, as Rafael Tatay joins them in The Village dining room.
photo by LAURA SKELDING
By Michael Barnes – American-Statesman Staff
Barbara Jones didn’t make friends easily in high school. Overweight and unhappy, she was bullied. Even after high school in Houston, Jones wasn’t sure what to do with the rest of her life.
Then, on the advice of a therapist, she moved into Marbridge, a residential center in Manchaca for clients with cognitive challenges.
“I’ve made lots of friends,” says Jones, now 21, slimmer because of the center’s fitness programs. “My best friend, Megan, moved down here shortly after I did. We have a blast messing with each other. It’s not too mean. It’s fun.”
Jones frankly didn’t know how to respond when people at Marbridge — staff members and residents alike — were nice to her.
“I didn’t know how to take it — now that I’m popular!” she says with broad smile under averted eyes. “The fact that I’m living away from my parents, but not completely on my own, I have the support I need.”
Marbridge promises a life of work, achievement and friendship. Daniel Shackelford works in sterile processing at Seton Medical Center. He used to live at Marbridge, but now lives on his own in an apartment.
photo LAURA SKELDING
Formerly known as Marbridge Ranch — started by Marge and Ed Bridges in 1953 for their son Jim and other boys like him — the center has provided a spectrum of services for more than 60 years.
Michael Barnes writes about Austin’s people, places, culture and history
Marbridge in short
Marbridge accepts adults with a variety of mental and physical challenges from age 18 to end of life. It includes four care centers. The Ranch Assisted Living Care Center and the Village Semi-Independent Care Center are private-pay only. The Villa Skilled Nursing and the Bridges Rehab accept Medicaid and Medicare and private pay. Marbridge provides a Life Options Program that allows residents and their families to set goals and create a life for the resident based on his/her interests and abilities. All residents receive a schedule on a semester basis that combines classes, activities and work schedules (for those employed). A very small number of openings are available.