When my daughter Lara turned blue in the nursery minutes after her birth and suffered irreparable brain damage, it led me on a new path of life.
In my desperate search for help for her, it turned me toward a newly created Infant Rehabilitation Center on the grounds of Willowbrook State School on Staten Island. It was 1971. So began my journey and the creation of what is now Life’s WORC.
The group’s beginning was as a fundraising and volunteer organization that started in my living room.
Fast forward to today, Life’s WORC provides quality group homes, day programs and social services to people with developmental disabilities and autism. I call it the “Tiffany” of services.
Here are thank you remarks recently made to Life’s WORC staff from a mother, Stacy, who received services from the organization. Enjoy!
Today is the two year anniversary of one of the greatest moments in our lives. Two years ago today at exactly 12 p.m., Matt’s group home was changed and he officially became part of the Life’s WORC family.
I had been whispering in his ear the whole day before that his life was about to become so much better and he was going to have the happiest home soon…very soon….
We had no idea if he understood what I was telling him but he couldn’t stop laughing and smiling….
My husband Jon and I were so scared that something unexpected would delay or stop the switch of agencies, but Matt was all smiles….he seemed to understand something really good was about to happen.
The next afternoon, one of the Life’s WORC administrators texted me after day hab to tell me that Matt seemed to know. As soon as Ayo (Matt’s house manager) walked into his program Matt walked right up to him grabbed his hand and happily exited day hab & hopped right in the van with him smiling on his way to his new home.
Sometimes it feels like yesterday and other times it feels like a lifetime ago. It’s still sort of the screen saver in my mind — different pieces of it just pop in at unexpected times — but thankfully less and less. I could tell you the exact time and date each significant event happened. You never ever forget who helped you (or who hurt you!).
And Life’s WORC staff are such heroes. None of us had any idea what his rehabilitation would require, so much more than any of us could have imagined. Some of it was so scary and awful that I wouldn’t even write about it here.
But Life’s WORC never gave up. They just kept reassuring us and adding more and more support…more and more staff and little by little the old Mathew began to reemerge.
The man who walked out of Anderson the year and a half before was completely different then the man who moved into their Life’s WORC home on Nov. 21, 2016, now a holiday celebrated in my home.
The staff has worked so hard every single day to not only meet my Matt’s needs but also to make sure he is living life with dignity and purpose. His days are filled with happy and meaningful experiences. They treat him and his housemates like family, which they have become.
Matt now lives with four amazing housemates who are older and can speak and function on a much higher level. But instead of being annoyed or upset with the disruption Mathew sometimes causes them, they just love and accept him. They all act like surrogate parents, even giving him some new socks. It was so sweet, I had to share it with the staff.
But the staff there is so on top of every single thing, they already knew about the socks his housemate had given him.
“Stacy, it was sweet, but Matt’s a little young for compression socks so we quietly took them out of his drawer.” I love that! They are watching every single thing that happens in this home … and that is how it should be in every group home!
His housemates have so many things to tell us each time we visit, and we love each one of them so much. Now we have nine “children” to love.
I want to thank every single person who helped us navigate the horrendous path that led us to this beautiful home and life for Mathew.
They took such good care of him and we have such a sense of security. Before Life’s WORC rescued him, we thought that sense of security was gone forever.
But today, at the two-year mark, we can honestly say without a doubt he is in the care of an agency and staff who leave no stone unturned in their desire to make sure he is not only safe but thriving. They are so compassionate and they are so professional yet so filled with love for those they support.
We are just so thankful for it!