Tricia Barksdale

Co-founder of Geranium Junction

Tricia Barksdale had a dream of opening a sheltered workshop in Bryan-College Station. With her qualifications from earning her Bachelor of Science degree in floriculture from Texas A&M in 1976, she previously served as director of the greenhouse at the Houston Center for People with Disabilities and earned a Master of Special Education degree at the University of Houston. She was awarded a Master of Arts degree in horticulture by Texas A&M in 1981. She became a registered horticultural therapist and knew it was a great way to help people with disabilities reach their full potential. Barksdale stated that having a horticulture program is preferable to institutionalizing people with disabilities.

Ms. Barksdale submitted a proposal to the Texas Rehabilitation Commission (currently Texas Workforce Commission) for a small greenhouse business to provide employment for workers with disabilities. After almost a year had passed since submitting this idea, she wanted to give up her dream of opening a sheltered workshop in the Brazos Valley but she knew she had to make sure she sought help from every imaginable source. TRC agreed to fund the pilot program in the Bryan-College Station area as soon as a nonprofit organization was formed, and a site was made available.

When Marsy Clarke joined forces with Ms. Barksdale, things began to look up. On August 18, 1981, a group of people interested in their mission met in Marsy’s home to make plans. At this gathering, Judge W. T. McDonald Jr. offered his legal counsel and with his help, Geranium Junction was incorporated as a nonprofit organization on September 11, 1981.

Broach Oil Co. offered the workshop the use of the service station site on College Avenue until June , when it would end up being demolished to make way for an office building. Plant Warehouse had occupied the vacant property previously and ended up donating its portable greenhouse, stock of plants, pots, and other equipment. TRC agreed to provide 70 percent of the funding of the workshop for the first year to monitor how well the program would do.

Ms. Barksdale had a dream of providing employment opportunities to those that are often considered unemployable. Her dream and determination that joined forces with Marsy Clarke are why we are still able to employ people with disabilities at Junction Five-O-Five and place individuals into community integrated employment allowing them to reach their full potential and take pride in their work with jobs they enjoy, some retaining their employment for over 20 years.

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