Every parent has their own unique experiences with their children, and at the heart of the parent is the desire to provide them with a happy and fulfilled life. Not one journey is exempt from challenges and hardship, but this can be more difficult to navigate when a child has a condition such as autism spectrum disorder. As parents of a teenager with autism, Dr. Beatriz Porras and her husband, Dr. Alvaro Ryes, understand the arduous and uncertain future their son Marco faces.
The family wanted to find a way to provide better opportunities for their son who would soon be entering adulthood. They also wanted to create a place where other young adults on the autism spectrum were provided a plethora of opportunities and resources to encourage happy, productive and healthy lives.
“We are introducing Angels’ Castle, a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving individuals on the autism spectrum who are transitioning into adulthood, through educational programs, entertainment, therapy services and physical activities while providing compassionate care to promote independence and personal growth,” Dr. Porras says.
Angels’ Castle started in late 2018. They obtained a public charity nonprofit status and acquired a 22-acre lot with beautiful, natural scenery located in Springfield Township. They will be working with the land development and civil engineering group Abercrombie & Associates Inc. and the architecture and design will be led by the Casler Design Group. These companies will incorporate eco-friendly products, such as solar panels, into the project.
Dr. Porras serves as the board president, Dr. Ryes is the organization’s secretary, and their oldest son, Louie Ryes, is the treasurer. The Angels’ Castle community will have access to continued education in subjects such as reading and writing, math, history and geography. They will offer classes that will aid in living skills such as developing a better understanding for social norms and community expectations. These individuals will have the opportunity to travel and attend cultural events, ride horses, swim, practice sports and learn art, music and much more in a nurturing environment.
“I found that children with autism were not given the same opportunities as other children,” Dr Porras says. “These children are viewed as limited and therefore not given the chance to thrive. This is just not the case, and we wanted to create a place that cultivated growth and did not put limitations on their potential.”
Through Angels’ Castle, Dr. Porras and her family not only want to enrich the lives of autistic men and women, but they aspire to help educate the community about people on the autism spectrum.
With resources such as Angels’ Castle, these individuals can live a successful and abundant adult life.
Angel’s Castle is positioned to open phase 1 in summer 2023.
Phase 1 will include:
• Educational buildings
• Centers specializing in physical, occupational and speech therapy
• Library and computer lab
• Gymnasium complete with a basketball court that will double as theater space
• Recreational facility with multiple exercise machines and equipment
• Stables for horseback riding
• Indoor and outdoor swimming pools
Phase 2 will begin in 2025 with the construction of residential facilities.
Onsite residential facilities will allow autistic adults to not only have access to all the programs and amenities offered through Angels’ Castle, but it will help foster their living skills while teaching them how to enter the workforce. They will be encouraged to work both on and off-campus.
Between now and the opening of Angels’ Castle, there will be numerous opportunities to help this incredible organization. On July 18, they hosted their first volunteering event, a cleanup day, and are slated to host a second event in March 2021. The first fundraising event is scheduled for summer 2021.
“We were very encouraged by the support and dedication shown by everyone who came out to help with the cleanup day,” Louie says. “We will be hosting additional volunteer and fundraising events and my family welcomes anyone who would like to be a part of Angels’ Castle.”
According to statistics from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, autism spectrum disorder occurs in as many as one in every 59 children. There is a dire need for organizations like Angels’ Castle to help fill a void for young adults on the autism spectrum. With the help of a compassionate community, Dr. Porras and Dr. Ryes’ dream for their son and the autistic community will be realized.
Angels’ Castle is located at 2416 Compton Road, Cincinnati, OH 45231. If your family or friends have a teenager or young adult on the autism spectrum and want to learn more about Angels’ Castle, email Angelscastleoh@gmail.com or visit the Angels’ Castle Facebook page.