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Meet Heather 

Heather, the inspiration of Heather’s Old Skool Village, is a remarkable young woman who happens to have Down Syndrome. Her journey began when she entered ninth grade at Lake Worth High School, where she encountered her Life Skills teacher, Ms. Brenda Ornelas. From the outset, a profound connection blossomed between the two, rooted in mutual respect and understanding. Over time, Heather, who had experienced the absence of her biological mother from her family, found solace and inspiration in Ms. Ornelas, coming to regard her as a maternal figure. In fact, Heather's admiration for her teacher was so profound that she aspired to follow in her footsteps and become an educator herself, aspiring to impart knowledge and guidance just like her beloved "mother."

Following Ms. Ornelas' retirement from her teaching career, she embarked on a thoughtful mission to support Heather in her aspiration to become an educator. This endeavor involved strategic property acquisition and extensive renovations, culminating in the establishment of Heather’s Old Skool Village in the Autumn of 2015, with Ms. Ornelas assuming the role as Executive Director and Heather assuming the role as a Teachers' Assistant within the village.  In addition to her teaching assistant responsibilities, Heather also serves as an esteemed honorary member of the Board of Directors. Her unique perspective and invaluable insights into the needs of the special needs community enrich the governance process, ensuring that Heather’s Old Skool Village remains steadfast in its commitment to inclusivity and excellence.

Moreover, Heather's dedication extends beyond the confines of the learning village, as she has also secured employment at our favorite local restaurant, Arizola's, further showcasing her determination and capacity for meaningful contribution to the community.  We consider it a privilege to have Heather as the guiding inspiration behind Heather’s Old Skool Village. Her unwavering passion and resilience serve as a beacon of hope and empowerment for individuals with diverse abilities, embodying the core values of our organization.

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