When a House Becomes a Home: A Home for Chris, Ron and Josh
by Susan Munday, Communications Coordinator,
Delaware County Board of Developmental Disabilities Jan. 2006
Wednesday, January 26th may have seemed like an ordinary day, but for three men in Delaware and their families, it was anything but ordinary. This was the day that Chris, Ron and Josh walked through their new home for the first time and met the students responsible for building it.
The house is not finished. In fact, it is a bare shell of a house sitting on the property of the Delaware Area Career Center. But for those in attendance that special day, it was the beginning of a home. Mike Corbett, Director of Delaware Creative Housing spoke to the crowd and explained how the house was being built for three special men. Seniors at the career center work on the house as part of their vocational schooling. They learn the skills of the trade and will graduate with a one-year apprenticeship towards their career. Yet, it seemed that on this day, they were learning something more.
Mr. Scott, the instructor shared that the boys were surprised to learn that the "men" they were building the house for were not much older than they were. "They expected to build something for older people who needed a totally accessible house. It was 'eye-opening' for these guys," said their instructor.
Chris and his family toured the house and imagined where his bedroom would be. He beamed from ear to ear as he waved at others to come see the bedroom and bathroom. Ron looked around with his providers as they admired the windows in the new home. Josh talked with the students and the instructor and thanked them for a nice home.
After the initial excitement, Mike and the future tenants gave thank you cards and t-shirts silk-screened with the Delaware Creative Housing logo. The students happily put the shirts on and wore them proudly in front of the large crowd toting cameras, there to document the occasion.
Mike finished the day with an email thanking those in attendance. "(The men) were able to meet the students and instructors that built their home and (were) given the opportunity to say "thank you". That means a lot to them and their families. What we all just provided was a normal experience and the more of those a person with a disability can have, the better. We also provided another opportunity for a young person, 15-20 students, to meet with some of the people we serve and we know that nothing but good could come from that."
The house will be moved this year to a lot in Delaware on Parker Street. There is a lot of work still to be done, but this house is indeed already a home.