AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)– Tri-Development Center of Aiken County is a community-based organization that is recognized as a leader in the Palmetto State when it comes to services and support for people with disabilities.

Heather Waddell is the Executive Director of T-D-C… and Connie Mancilia is a licensed practical nurse who works at the Center.

Both work to uphold the mission of Tri-Development Center, which at the core is about helping people with disabilities live their best lives.

As Waddell explains, Tri-Development originally started as a child development center.

“And evolved over the years, And our mission is to provide excellent services to our individuals that have autism, head and spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and intellectual developmental disabilities... And so we come in and our agency really focuses on providing those supports both vocational. Which is day services and residential services because we wanna be able to provide that needed service. And I know that you had parents in a earlier session because we also do a lot of prevention of disabilities in our community. So our mission very much is to provide education and resources and supports to the Aiken county community. So our individuals can be prosperous adults just like you or I in our community.

Mancilia is responsible for health management.

“We treat each of our people as individuals. So the health aspect of Tri-Development is very important because as this community ages, you know, years ago when people had disabilities, the lifespan was very short. So now it’s not. Our people live and they have full lives. And along with the aging process comes the disease process. So the nursing, the healthcare aspect of Tri-Development is very important. We’re constantly learning because a person with a disability, blood pressure may affect them differently. Whereas I can manage my blood pressure, but as a result of their disability, they have different things that tag along with the blood pressure… So the health aspect of Tri-Development is very important. And I really don’t think that people know that we have a nursing healthcare community there. We’re thriving. And I would have to pat myself on the back and say we are the backbone of Tri-Development.