Our mission is to equip adults with disabilities to be independent and connect them with opportunities to serve others in their community.
Able to Serve is a faith-based, community-funded nonprofit organization that believes every person, regardless of their abilities, is created by God to live a full life. Our core service is a day program that provides adults with disabilities with a supportive environment where they can reach their full potential as an integral part of God’s creation. Our focus is on equipping them with life skills to be more independent and connecting them with opportunities to use their abilities to serve others in our community.
Our program is built on a model that provides participants with the opportunity to learn, grow, lead, and serve in community with others. We are more than just a safe place for adults with disabilities to spend the day; through our structured classes, participants experience the community as a classroom, where practical lessons are learned and applied in real-life settings. From continuing education to life skills training, we draw out the gifts and abilities adults have been given by God that will help them discover their own value and see themselves as people who have something to offer others in our community.
Our hope is that through our work, adults with disabilities in Wake and Johnston Counties will be equipped to live a full life as recognized and valued individuals who are fully integrated into the life of their local communities.
Our Core Values
By all accounts, Carlton McDaniel, Jr. grew up in a fairly typical family, his father is a retired minister, and his mother is a retired teacher’s assistant. Typical, except Carlton’s older sister by 13 months, Gerrie, has special needs.
From Carlton’s earliest memories, he saw himself as ‘Gerrie’s brother.’ Carlton said, “Gerrie always looked after me. Whenever Gerrie would receive candy or a surprise, she would always ask for another one for her brother. I only wish I had been so thoughtful.”
“I have many fond memories of our childhood together. We often sang in church and, for the most part, enjoyed the same experiences as other kids. But at an early age, I learned Gerrie needed me. Gerrie had some difficulty with her speech, so everyone would look at me and ask, ‘What did she say?’ I remember the pride of my role as ‘interpreter. The greatest satisfaction came from knowing exactly how to help Gerrie fit in.
However, the teenage years were much tougher. Almost as if overnight, Gerrie lost the ability to stay up with the group. The pressures I felt inside were like a war zone. On one side, I loved Gerrie and knew she needed me to function as part of the group. On the other, I needed my space, my time, and my friends. I could not remember any other time in my life when I felt so lonely. What could I do? Every other brother could complain about his sister, and that was OK. But Gerrie had special needs. Who would listen to my frustration without making me feel even worse? All of a sudden, my childhood role as an interpreter brought pain instead of pride. I began to question: ‘God, why did You give me a sister with special needs?’ But to be honest, I never listened for an answer. It was much easier to be angry and look for an escape.”
After experiencing some challenges related to his sister’s special needs through his teenage years, and his struggle for independence in early adulthood; a stint in the army, college, and seminary; Carlton finally understood God’s calling on his life. “Thanks to a patient family and a forgiving God, my appreciation and love for Gerrie grows each passing day. So the real truth is evident. God was using Gerrie all along as an ‘interpreter’ to change me into the minister He needed to fulfill His plan!”
Because of his special relationship with Gerrie, Carlton’s passion for people with special needs led him to LifeWay Christian Resources, where he spent ten years helping to start special needs ministries within churches throughout the US. During that time, Carlton committed to starting and building an organization to help adults with disabilities become more independent and develop into all that God had created them to be. In 2003, Able to Serve was born out of a desire to help people with disabilities to learn life skills and use their abilities to serve their community.
Today, Able to Serve is a Christ-centered, nonprofit organization that is becoming the premier organization serving adults with disabilities and their families in Wake and Johnston County. Since its beginning in 2003, Able To Serve now serves forty (40) participants with a staff of seven team members and numerous volunteers whose goal is to enable each participant to reach their potential through its holistic model that helps each person to learn, grow, lead and serve–becoming all that God has created them to be.
Through the support of charitable, like-minded donors, the vision that was birthed in Carlton’s heart is now a reality that is touching lives, families, and the Garner community and beyond.
“I have not always been the brother Gerrie needed. Becoming the brother Gerrie needs is an ongoing journey. Gerrie has given me an incredible look into simple trust and love. It’s funny, but I still ask the same question: ‘God, why did you give me a sister with special needs?’ The difference is now I ask out of thankfulness and not anger. Again, through my loving, caring parents and a forgiving God, I know greater things are still to come.”
We were honored to receive the Small Business of the Year Award from the Greater Cleveland Chamber.
We received the “Best Community Partner” Award presented at the Garner Chamber of Commerce Summit Awards. We would like to thank all who voted online to recognize the amazing partnerships we have in our community.