If you're caring for a person today who is disabled in any way, you understand when I say that every moment they get to enjoy their favorite thing is the absolute best part of their day. Annie's favorite food in the world is ice cream. If you say, "Want to get some ice cream?" she's in the car before anyone else. I mean, just look at her face in this photo... sheer joy!
As a care giver, it's sometimes hard to find much joy in simple things like ice cream because even the simple comes with a challenge. But this moment right here, this is joy.
My beginning starts with Annie. She was born 18 months before me, but we were raised as twins. Annie was born with an intellectual disability.
Over the years we have fallen into 2 different groups that are marginalized by society:
1. People with different types of intellectual & learning abilities
2. Siblings who care for them
One day last year I woke up and realized that I am not going to be physically able to care for my sister forever. As I began to research the living options that were available in my area I realized there was a severe gap between people who can afford care and people who cannot.
I began to ask myself, "What if? What if life and living conditions could be better for people like Annie? What if? What if life and living could be better for people like me?"
So, I began the journey of dreaming up Family First Villages. I want a place where Annie can live affordably, work in a job that she loves, and have friends. I don't want her to be isolated from the community. I want her to be part of our community, and for the community to be educated about the societal issues that exist where we live.
I hope you'll join us as we take on this huge, but life-giving dream!