QWO serves individuals with Developmental Disabilities (DD) and their caregiving families in Oregon and SW Washington. The participants, called “Treasures” or “Guests”, include individuals with a wide variety of DD (e.g., Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, and Autism), ethnic backgrounds, religions, financial statuses, ages (18 and up) and living situations.
Steve Ristow, the founder of QWO, had a close family relative with Fetal Alcohol Effects. Steve has first-hand experience with the overwhelming responsibility of caring for someone with a mental disability, as well as the imminent need for spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical restoration. It was this experience that planted the seed that would become QWO.
With a desire to help families like his own, Steve received his Bachelor’s of Psychology from Pepperdine University in 1993. Steve also has a Master’s of Christian Studies from George Fox University. His Master Thesis on the need for respite care for families and caregivers of individuals with intellectual / developmental disabilities began the formation of QWO.
QWO became a non-profit corporation in May of 1997 under the federal code 501 (c)(3). It has a governing Board of Directors consisting of community members who monitor the direction, integrity, and development of the organization. QWO employs an Executive Director, Respite Program Manager, Office Administrator, Interior Beautification Specialist, and many Guest Service Specialists.