Inside 'Las Vegas' favorite charity,' Opportunity Village - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

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Inside 'Las Vegas' favorite charity,' Opportunity Village

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Opportunity Village employees work inside the nonprofit's campus on Oakey Boulevard in Las Vegas. (FOX5) Opportunity Village employees work inside the nonprofit's campus on Oakey Boulevard in Las Vegas. (FOX5)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

Pride, purpose and a paycheck. That's the mission of Nevada's largest nonprofit, Opportunity Village.

Every year, Opportunity Village serves more than 3,000 men and women with intellectual disabilities. The organization provides job training and employment opportunities for those adults.

One of those individuals is Sharon Golbois. Golbois, 44, was born with Down syndrome. Normally, it would be difficult for her to get a job, but Opportunity Village provided her with just that.

“I like it here because it's more money involved, and I need more money so I can go see my brother or my house manager I used to have. I can make that trip by myself, actually,” Golbois said.

Besides job training and employment, Opportunity Village has an arts program and provides social recreation.

Last year, the nonprofit paid more than $8 million in wages to its employees.

Linda Smith's son is in his 50s and showing early signs of Alzheimer's disease, which is common for people born with Down syndrome.

“My son is at Opportunity Village. He's safe, he's productive, he's valued. I'm afraid for his future,” Smith said. “What's going to happen when I'm gone?”

People with disabilities age out of the Clark County School District system at 22. That's where Opportunity Village comes in.

“I graduated from school, and then I went to the YMCA. I went to Lied Animal Shelter,” Opportunity Village employee Nick Rpanos said.

Rpanos has also worked in Opportunity Village's Kitchen Creations, popping gourmet popcorn and making cookies.

“I do chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal, snickerdoodle,” he said.

Rpanos is now working in Opportunity Village's employment center. Like a lot of 28-year-olds, he's exploring career paths and discovering what he loves to do.

“People ask me, ‘What do you want to be in the future?' Now's not the time to ask me, but I like my job,” he said.

Golbois' passion is dancing, and she gets plenty of practice at Opportunity Village.

“I'm doing good. I'm doing great. I like Opportunity Village, where everybody is nice to me. If I need help, I need help. If not, I do it myself,” she said.

Opportunity Village holds several fundraisers each year. Currently, the community is invited to its Magical Forest holiday display at its campus on Oakey Boulevard in Las Vegas.

In a few weeks, the nonprofit will hold its annual Santa Run in downtown Las Vegas.

To make a donation to Opportunity Village, click here.

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