Above and Beyond: Advocate for challenged adults

Andrea Williams loves helping people at the 305 8th Street Home...

"She means everything to this place, to these residents. Without her, this whole place would be lost," said Danny Morton, Jr., a 305 8th Street staff member.

It's a group home for adults with a wide range of challenges - autism, brain injury, mental illness - whose care doesn't fall neatly under state guidelines for care elsewhere.

Williams is technically the executive director, but inside the home...

"I'm a mama by all, and I adopt them all as my uncles and aunts, and they're family. And I think we just form a unique bond, and it's unbreakable," said Williams.

Right now, 16 adults from 30 to 77 live there round the clock.

Williams started there as a volunteer 4 years ago. Now, she's full time, taking her residents to doctor's appointments, writing grants to fill in insurance gaps, and finding donations to pay for everything, since the home doesn't get any state funding.

How does she do it all?

"Honestly, I wonder that day to day myself but, if I ask her, she'll just say take it one step at a time," said Morton.

And not that she seems to mind. She's doing what she loves to do.

"I think of it as a mission that helps people that fall through the cracks of state assistance that need that assistance in a structured group environment. How better a help can you be than that?" Williams said.

305 8th Street was in a financial crisis 4 years ago. Now, it's doing fine. And yet, there's more Williams has in mind.

"We just have big dreams, and it's just as needs arise, we're just going to take care of them and go from there," she said.

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