By Katalina Bonds
In February 2019, I finally found an adult day program for my two special needs sons that I was actually excited about. I had finally decided that it was time for me to get started on opening a group home, because I figured the only way I could create the loving and supportive environment I want for my boys was to create it myself. This way, I could determine who would be working with them and the type of people they would be.
I started researching small group home owners to get some ideas from them about how they started their businesses. In the process of my research I ran across a company that had a couple of group homes. I went to their website to find that everything they claimed to do was exactly what I wanted to create for my boys. It was like a dream come true. And after we visited their day program, I realized it was a dream that became our reality simply because I had made the decision to start a group home to help them move out into a safe and happy environment. Now they are so happy and loved beyond what I could have imagined myself.
We had always been told by their school teachers that they could tell our boys were truly loved. I never really understood the depth of that statement until we moved the boys to this new day program. To make my point, let me briefly describe what it was like for my one son, Javier, at the first program. He was allowed to sit at a table to color all by himself. I had the impression that not many people engaged with him because we kept have issues with incident reports which usually stemmed from poor communication on their part in explaining things in a way Javier would understand.
It finally resulted in a parent meeting and we gladly met with them. After talking for a while with no real resolutions, the boys were brought in. Brian and I started engaging Javier in conversation about his favorite topics (animals). The director started taking notes like crazy. It was then I realized how little they knew Javier, which confirms my suspicion that he was ignored most of the time.
Now, fast forward to present time and Javier’s behavior at his new day program. He has gone from the quiet and easily agitated young man, to the social butterfly. I am told that Derek likes to go directly to the craft table to do puzzles or a craft project while Javier moves around the room engaging with staff. This is literally a completely different Javier. These people engage with him, take interest in him and share their excitement in his interests and the impact this is having on Javier is showing up loud and clear.
I’m so grateful we finally found a place that can love our boys and all their clients as much as we love our boys. The power of love is endless. That is why Christ’s first two commandments are all about love.
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