When raising a child, a parent faces numerous challenges and obstacles. These challenges do not miraculously disappear when a child enters adulthood. This is especially true for a parent of a child with intellectual disabilities. Like any other parent, they want their child to love, experience infinite joy, thrive and find fulfillment. For a parent with a child with special needs, this journey can be stressful and uncertain, in part, due to the limited resources available for young adults with special needs. Dr. Beatriz Porras, a local Dermatologist and her husband Dr. Alvaro Ryes are parents of Marco, a teenager with autism. They acknowledged that their son would face unique hurdles as he enters adulthood. Instead of feeling discouraged, Dr. Porras recognized an opportunity to fill a void that would not only help her son but would give so many other young adults with intellectual disabilities the chance to flourish. This desire led to the creation of Angels’ Castle.
Angels’ Castle is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to serving young adults with intellectual disabilities as they age out of high school. The organization will provide educational and recreational programs, residential services, and therapy services, that will help promote independence and foster personal growth. This will be accomplished with the construction of a campus in Springfield Township, Cincinnati, Ohio, to be completed in the Spring of 2023 and open the doors in the summer of 2023.
Angels’ Castle will provide residential services for up to 32 participants, and academic and recreational day services for up to 80. These services will be designed to help guide the participants to discover their passions and professional path.
“This program will act as a sort of ‘undergraduate’ experience for these young adults and will provide the social, educational and vocational experience that many in this population do not get the chance to have,” says Louie Ryes, the older brother of Marco and treasurer of the board of directors of Angels’ Castle. “We have noticed that once high school ends, many of the opportunities previously accessible, are no longer available, and the special needs community is left with few options. Our main mission is to ensure that this community continues to learn and grow as people.”
Dr. Beatriz Porras and her family are working diligently to develop the best possible design for the Angels’ Castle campus. In early May, they visited other facilities across the country with a similar vision to their own, to engage and learn more. The family first visited Hannah & Friends, a nonprofit organization in South Bend, Indiana that is dedicated to improving the quality of life for the special needs’ population. Hannah & Friends serves as both a residential community for adults with special needs, and a site for activities, such as animal husbandry for special needs children. They also visited Benjamin’s Hope, a nonprofit organization located in Holland, Michigan that offers residential services and is a place of worship for individuals with special needs. It is the Ryes-Porras family’s hope to build relationships with organizations who share a similar vision.
“We believe that we should all work together and support each other in the mission of providing purpose and fulfillment within the special needs community,” Dr. Porras says.
Cincinnati will be the original home of Angels’ Castle, but the goal is to create a design and format that can be replicated throughout other parts of the country. The ultimate dream is to build an Angels’ Castle in several states, providing education, entertainment, and enrichment in a safe and nurturing environment.
To successfully achieve their goals and mission, Angels’ Castle will continue to host fundraising events and volunteer opportunities. On March 13, 2021, they held their second clean-up-day event on the 22-acre lot that will be the future home of Angels’ Castle. They had over 100 local volunteers including students from Xavier University and Indian Hill High School. Dr. Porras was elated by the strength of the support the mission has already generated. The event was covered by two media outlets, WCPO 9 On Your Side and WLWT News 5.
On Saturday, June 26, 2021, Angels’ Castle will have celebrated their first fund raising event, an Annual Garden Cocktail Party and Silent Auction. This stunning event will have taken place in the exquisite residence of the Ryes- Porras family, complete with beautiful water features and an array of plants and flowers. Guests will have indulged in a wide selection of heavy hor d’oeuvres, desserts and cocktails while delighting in Cincinnati’s best live entertainment. The event was hosted by Dr. Porras, who used her extensive experience hosting parties for the Cincinnati Opera Company and other venues, to ensure that this event was a phenomenal success.
The Garden Cocktail Party and Silent Auction gave guests the opportunity to meet the faces behind Angels’ Castle and learn more about their story and mission. As a private nonprofit organization, Angels’ Castle will continue to need the community’s support and donations. If you would like to donate, please consider donating through Angels’ Castle’s Facebook page, through their PayPal account, or by sending a check to 7904 Kugler Mill Rd. Cincinnati Ohio, 45243.
If your family or friends have a teenager or young adult on the autism spectrum disorder or diagnosed with any intellectual disability and want to learn more about Angels’ Castle, email then at Angelscastleoh@gmail.com or visit the Angels’ Castle Facebook page or Instagram account. Angels’ Castle will be located at 2372 Compton Rd. Cincinnati, OH 45231.