ANGLETON — Patty Swords likes to joke nonprofit organization executives should measure their employment in dog years.
Swords resigned Thursday, effective immediately, after what felt like 14 years as executive director of the Brazoria County Association for Citizens with Handicaps’ Early Childhood Intervention program, rather than two, she said with a laugh.
BACH staff members will oversee the Early Childhood Intervention program until the board hires a new director, said Gil Rasco, president of BACH’s board of directors.
“We’ve got a good, strong staff and a very engaged board,” Rasco said. “All the people know what to do and they do it well, so the program is going to carry on until we have the chance to search for and find somebody to take Patty’s place.”
Swords has packed enough accomplishments to fill a decade since coming aboard in August 2016. The nonprofit organization’s staff has grown 18 percent in the last year alone, she said.
“It’s a lot of extra work meeting the day-to-day needs of more employees and overseeing all the different departments,” Swords said. “I decided it was in great shape and it was time for somebody else to take over.”
Swords is perhaps most proud of her pet project, Buster’s Kids. BACH officials launched the pediatric therapy program, named for longtime BACH advocate and board member W.V. “Buster” Curry, last year.
Buster’s Kids, which offers physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech-language pathology onsite for all clients until their 21st birthday, had been an abstract concept for years. Swords decided to expedite the program after BACH officials began to feel the heat from statewide budget cuts to Medicaid.
“The board was supportive,” Swords said. “They wanted to serve more kids.”
Board members, employees and volunteers transformed a formerly walled-in room at the facility on Hospital Drive into a virtual playground meant to help children with sensory processing disorders focus and stay on task.
“It was like launching a space shuttle,” Swords said. “I just had a vision for it and knew exactly what needed to be done to get things ready.”
Before the inception of Buster’s Kids, BACH was one of only two organizations in the county to provide Early Childhood Intervention services for children with disabilities and developmental delays, Program Director Erin Chapman has said.
“It’s been amazing how much that program has taken off and grown in the last six months,” Swords said. “We have nowhere to go but up.”
Swords still plans to attend BACH’s premier luncheon, scheduled for Sept. 19 at the Dow Academic Center in Lake Jackson.
Temple Grandin, a professor of animal science at Colorado State University and perhaps the most well-known adult with autism in the world, will speak about her experiences with both autism and cattle handling.
BACH officials already have sold 300 seats through table sponsorships and individual tickets, with plenty of time to sell more, Swords said.
“We’re still excited about that,” she said. “Everything is going to be great for Dr. Grandin.”
Swords hasn’t mapped out her post-BACH future just yet, but she is looking forward to doing so, she said.
“I’m going to enjoy figuring that out,” Swords said.