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1 The farmhouse, Brookwood's first building.jpg

The Beginning-1983

The Brookwood Community

In the small town of Brookshire, Texas, where peaceful rural living is only 30 miles west of the big city vibe of Houston, there is a community that some of its citizens have described as, “heaven on earth.” Situated on 485 beautiful acres of land, The Brookwood Community (Brookwood) is a haven for people with disabilities. It is much more than that, however. Brookwood provides life-changing assistance to the disabled by giving them meaningful jobs and the ability to help support themselves, and it builds within them that crucial sense of knowing they belong. It also creates meaning and purpose in their lives. At Brookwood, everyone is important and called a citizen . . . they actually participate in the welfare of the community. 

Brookwood’s Fundamentals 
Neurodiversity is, “the concept that certain developmental disorders are normal variations in the brain and people who have these variations also have certain strengths,” according to WebMD.  This is celebrated at Brookwood. Its mission is to, “Through the grace of God . . . provide an educational environment that creates meaningful work, builds a sense of belonging, and awakens genuine purpose in the lives of adults with disabilities.” Its vision is “to change the way the world thinks about adults with disabilities.” Its core values are: “grace, opportunity, dignity, respect, interdependence, continual improvement, and honesty.” Its core commitments are “a truth-safe environment, excellence, faithful stewardship, safety, and neurodiversity.” 
At Brookwood, there is the fundamental understanding that all humans are endowed by God with gifts and talents unique to them.  Brookwood just provides the tools and environment for those talents to blossom. 

Vicki Streit, age one, the impetus for Brookwood

Mother and daughter beginning a new adventure

Brookwood’s History 

When Vicki Streit, the daughter of Brookwood’s founder and executive director emeritus, Yvonne Streit, was only one year old, she came down with the mumps. Due to complications from the disease, she developed encephalitis and meningitis, which left her severely brain damaged. Though the Streit’s explored all possible medical routes to reverse the damage, they came to realize it wasn’t to be and turned to education to help Vicki adapt to life within her abilities. 

At Purdue University, USC, and UCLA, the Streit’s gathered the information needed to teach Vicki the life skills she could use. Mrs. Streit, who has a degree in education with a minor in psychology, began using some of these techniques to work with Vicki. In time, other children with similar challenges joined Vicki and her mother, and they formed a learning group which emphasized skills and Perceptual/Motor development in the Streit’s backyard. As more children joined the group, they outgrew their setting and moved to a church, where the group continued to grow and thrive. Eventually, with the help of several grants from people who recognized the value of this program, they built their own school building. 

Understanding there aren’t many avenues to choose from for people with functional disabilities (the ability to function comfortably in society as a whole) after they graduate from school, Mrs. Streit realized the need for developing an environment which could provide life-long Pragmatic Education in Tandem with Life . . .  While researching residential communities in the United States and Europe, she recognized that some of the challenges these families faced were insurmountable, so, as Dr. Kephart said at Purdue University . . . “we will teach them how to play with the cards they have been dealt.”

Citizens planting 50,000 poinsettias

Medical Director gaining the trust of a Citizen

Brookwood Begins 
Brookwood’s day program began in 1983. By 1985, the first residents had joined. Since then, it has educated and enabled hundreds of men and women with intellectual and functional disabilities to maintain full-time jobs at Brookwood, enjoy life, have an important role in the community built around them, and serve others in the broader community. Not only does it provide educational and enterprise programs, Brookwood delivers a nurturing environment with proper nutrition; healthy activities; and beneficial challenges, mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. 

From the beginning, Brookwood was founded on the American free enterprise system. For this reason, Brookwood is able to abstain from any government funding. Its funding comes from tuition, enterprise revenue, and critically important donations. Because they believe that quality is more important than quantity, enrollment is limited, however, sharing their experiences with others to touch the lives of hundreds of thousands of special needs adults is very important. Brookwood has been able to achieve this goal through the formation of their Center for Learning designed to collaborate with others around the world.

A Citizen proudly serving to our guests

It takes concentration to create our ceramic products

Brookwood Today 
Today, 244 Brookwood citizens work in one of its enterprises at the main Brookshire campus or at one of the two satellite locations in Richmond, Texas and The Woodlands, Texas. Using the tools they are given, combined with their own special talents and uniquely gifted teachers, Brookwood citizens produce tens of thousands of unique products that are sold to the public. The proceeds from these sales go to help support the community.

In all, there are 114 residential citizens who live on campus and an additional 130 day citizens who commute to work on campus daily. They enjoy genuine fellowship, participate in fitness activities in the indoor swimming pool, a gym, and hopefully, a soon-to-be fitness park. They worship together at the interfaith worship center. Health care is also available at the onsite dental and wellness clinic for anyone who requires it. 

Brookwood’s Enterprise Studios 


Here, citizens paint, glaze, or stain beautiful ornaments, plates, cups, and platters. Once glazed and fired, citizens tag and price each one. 

Stone Casting 
Here, citizens pour “tuff-stone” mixture into molds, remove the pieces from the molds when set, sand them, and place them to dry. Then they are painted under the guidance of a retail specialist who is aware of the colors that will make the pieces even more marketable. 


Specialty Shop 
This is a teaching/apprentice area where citizens learn skills that will build further skills toward working in various enterprises. 


Finishing Shop 
An extension of the Ceramics Shop, the Finishing Shop is where citizens cut and string ribbon, apply embellishments, and attach labels and price tags to completed items. 


Packaging Shop 
In this studio, citizens label and package Brookwood’s salad dressing, food items, dog treats, and other specialty items sold online and, in its store, as well as its custom-made corporate gifts.  Corporate gifts are available, and Brookwood citizens, using a model gift, delight in arranging and packaging those specialty items.

Seasonal Greeting Cards 
With the support of a Community Member (staff), citizens design unique cards, which they screen print or paint, then fold and package. 

Custom Products 
Citizens use a wide range of design techniques and mediums to create striking custom gifts and marketing items tailored to customers’ special event and corporate-function needs. 


Brookwood’s Additional Enterprises 

The most well-known of its enterprises, the Brookwood Café takes pride in the quality of its food and customer service. Members of the team of citizens who work there set the tables, serve as host or hostess, take drink orders, and assist in serving guests. 


Screen printing is so rewarding

Walking against the current builds strength

Our Worship Center, another place to thank God

We are proud of our work

Bike to the Beach where our Citizens ride 6 to 25 miles to benefit others

Handbell Choir practicing for one of their many performances

What would we do without wonderful volunteers

Filling a mold for stone casting

Honing basketball skills

The horticulture enterprise produces 210,000 plants a year, including over 50,000 poinsettias, in Brookwood’s 48 greenhouses. The work is divided into four categories: the propagation shop where citizens propagate approximately 70 percent of Brookwood’s plants; the plant shop where citizens fill the pots with soil, plant a variety of seedlings, and water and tag the plants; work in the movers crew, a mobile shop where citizens transport plants from one greenhouse to another; project green where citizens who may need more individualized attention learn all the basic skills they need to be part of the horticulture team. 


Citizens assist the sales team as retail associates in greeting customers and helping them find sought-after items, as well as wrapping packages. 

Inventory Warehouse 
Citizens in the inventory warehouse take receipt of the finished products from the studios and put them in the appropriate areas. Citizens assist in pricing items received from outside vendors.

Anyone who is interested in touring this inspirational community and experiencing first-hand its remarkable work can do so by scheduling a tour. Guided tours for groups of 10 or more are available Monday through Friday at 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. by appointment only. These can be scheduled by emailing or by calling 281- 375 -2100. Prospective Family tours are also available on the first Wednesday of every month at 9:30 a.m. for those considering Brookwood’s residential or day programs for their loved ones. All pertinent information regarding tours, products, and programs is available on the informative Brookwood Community website:

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