We go into their home and we teach them how to cook, budget and shop. We teach them how to launder their clothes. We teach them how to take the bus, and how to get back and forth to different things in the community.
I think personally it would give me a great feeling to know that Beth had a place she could call her home long after we were gone -- and I know that is true of other parents that we know.
The neatest thing about living in my own place is cause I love it here... I can do things on my own.
My dream was always living in a house and I got that dream, and I made that dream come true.
I really like it. This is the best place I ever lived, and my Dad was so happy when we found out about this program and found this place.
Your End-of-Year gift can go even further until December 21st because of a matching gift from our donor software provider (which caused technical difficulties during our Giving Tuesday campaign)! So please consider making your year-end-gift to HOPE before the 21st to take advantage of this opportunity. Please see a special request from our Board President below.
When somebody’s good at what they do, people don’t notice the labor process and thought that goes into the work, just the final product. One would never know that every aspect of our newest Norwalk house was meticulously rethought and reworked to meet the needs and comforts of a developmentally disabled tenant in a wheelchair.
Dustin Dilworth is a contractor that works frequently with HOPE. Dustin has become an expert in combining beautiful home features with the unique functions necessary for tenants in wheelchairs.
“We’re trying to make homes that are accessible, but make it feel like it’s not a hospital. This isn’t a typical care facility, this is somebody’s home,” Dustin said. “Even with the landscaping; we try to make it functional and usable so that it’s at the height that somebody with a wheelchair can use it. They can plant their little garden and have it accessible, but to anyone that walks in here, it just looks like a regular planter. It doesn’t really come across as something built for that purpose. And that’s the whole name of the game here.”
Dustin has taken a special liking to working with HOPE. “It’s really fun. They (HOPE) do a lot of creative design with their homes, I like that. Kristin and Denise are fun to work with,” Dustin said.
Dustin knows a job with HOPE means he gets to let his creative side loose to solve some problems.
“A lot of other jobs are cut and dry,” Dustin said. “You’re stuck inside this box; with HOPE, you have to think outside the box. How do you do a roll-in shower and make it look residential, and make it look like it’s in somebody’s home and not in a hospital? How do you do a vanity and make it a roll-up, while having it be soft and pleasing, and not like it’s a hospital?”
HOPE and Dustin look forward to their next adventure in home remodeling. Because HOPE is always looking for the best new ways to serve its disabled clients, the team will head into the next project with a new approach.
“We’re going to be tackling the next project. It’s actually in the city of Norwalk again,” Dustin said. “That house will have even more of an emphasis on being accessible for people in wheelchairs. In fact, with that property, what we’re starting to do is bring people in in wheelchairs and ask them: ok, what is it you want? How would you like to get to this bedroom? How is it that you would like to get to your bathroom? We want to get their perspective and their point of view before the project even starts.”
Dustin and HOPE have been a natural fit.
“It’s fun thinking outside the box. Trying to find that balance of not having it look commercial, while making it wheelchair accessible is really unique,” Dustin said. “It’s been enjoyable.”
Independence and education: what could be more important for young adults? HOPE has teamed up with Harbor Regional Center (HRC), Long Beach City College (LBCC), and California MENTOR to make sure that young women and men with developmental disabilities are given the opportunity to have a rewarding college living experience at an affordable price.
“The C2C program is secondary education for individuals that are Regional Center clients, which means they’ve been diagnosed with a developmental disability,” Roxanne Carter-Burnell, director of supported living for C2C, said. “There are only a handful of programs throughout the country that provide the in-school educational support, as well as the residential housing. So, we’re kind of special, or so we’d like to think.”
The program has had great success in teaching these students to be responsible and hard working. “The team does an amazing job of inspiring these individuals to do their best and put their best foot forward every day,” Carter-Burnell said. “At first they might say, ‘why are we working on taking out the trash? Why can’t I leave this dish out for a second?’ But then they hear the response of ‘wow, it’s really nice to come to your house.’ They love to hear that and it motivates them. So now, one of our challenges is that we have individuals that will knock on your door and ask you to get that dish out of the sink. They’ve become ambassadors of their own house. They advocate for themselves. They love to hear the feedback.”
C2C is a great program and it’s working beautifully, but it’s important that more young adults are given the opportunity to participate. There's a need to expand housing within the program so that more hopeful college graduates can have an opportunity to be in the C2C program and experience not only the academics but the social and independent living parts as well. .
“We are very lucky. All of the partners involved are very supportive,” Carter-Burnell said. “We have all the tools, but it’s always nice to have more space."
“We’re only into the second year. We’re just getting to the point where people are starting to come out of the program,” Carter-Burnell said. “We have one graduate so far. She started working and living on her own in April (2014). She’s moved into a HOPE apartment, so what does that mean? Affordability. She’s taken skills she’s learned here with her."
All young developmentally disabled adults should be given the opportunities to succeed this way. “Post-secondary education should be the right of any individual that wants to explore it,” Carter-Burnell said. “Leveling the playing field is a good thing. In the end, it really will be rewarding to our society. Whatever hand you can have in that, reach out, and you’ll see that sometimes you get that hand right back. You’re helping, but they’re helping as well.”
Going off to college and learning to become self-sufficient is an American tradition that has shaped this nation. The C2C program’s mission is to ensure that college-aged people with developmental disabilities are also extended that opportunity.
Proceeds from this year’s tournament will help to provide a source of funds for upcoming HOPE developments within the C2C program. If you would like to help us to further our mission by providing a donation for the C2C program please click here.
There are so many wonderful reasons to give to HOPE this Holiday Season. Of course, this time of year is always a good time to give to make sure that you have a tax deduction before the year ends, but giving to HOPE can provide so much for so many.
Your gift can help some of these areas, all of which are current needs for HOPE:
We hope you will join millions of people on Giving Tuesday, and in your giving select HOPE as a charity of choice for your year-end donation.
To make your Giving Tuesday contribution please click here.
We hope you enjoy a wonderful Holiday Season!