Creating A Social Future
My eldest daughter, Lisa, shared a profound insight about the differing parenting experiences between herself and her sister Jennica. “Mom, I realize that I have been a lazy parent in a lot of ways, simply because I could get away with it since my children fall within the ‘norm’ in abilities. Jennica has had to stay focused and committed to the well-being of Dustin 24/7 because of the seriousness of the consequences if she doesn’t.”
As a result, Lisa has decided to recommit her efforts to providing as much guidance and direction to her children, inspired by the courage that Jennica has shown in providing the best opportunities available to Dustin so he reaches his personal potential.
Some of you know that my grandson Dustin has autism. He lives in New York and turns 13 in May. Each step of the way, there are new challenges to face and master for both Dustin and his parents. It is the never-ending story of legitimate worries that keep them toe-to-toe with unpredictable needs that require focus, time, attention, money and copious amounts of patience and unconditional love. I see behind-the-scenes both the burdens and the blessings that caring for a special-needs child brings to familial relationships. Yet, this is the first time that I have really thought about what will happen when Dustin reaches 22?
The worries inherent in parenting cluster around the fear of being unable to provide the necessary support for our children. We all grapple with that fear.
Recently, I had the opportunity to be introduced to the hopes and dreams that the Glenwood Housing Foundation holds for our young adults with special needs and their families here in Laguna.
The Glennwood Housing Project, 2130 S. Coast Highway, will be a unique full-service assisted environment that will provide another option besides living at home and facing inevitable isolation due to circumstances that are outside of the norm.
Imagine what the experience is for those in our community who are developmentally disabled and are nearing adulthood? Hopefully, through the commitment of their parents and the systems of school support and provisional therapies, many of their social and developmental needs have been covered. However, those services abruptly stop at age 22. Soon, they will be separated from the environments that provided the experience of peer friendships and the goodwill of teachers and therapists who have given them the accolades that come with mastering new skills.
I learned that the Laguna Beach Community Foundation, under the guidance of its president and chief executive, Darrcy Loveland, is highly involved and committed to helping spearhead this project to completion. The Glennwood Housing Foundation is reaching out to our community and beyond for donations through participation in fundraising events that will help supply the money needed to complete this dream.
The home will bring a special opportunity to our community to provide a state-of-the-art place for many of our children to actualize their full potential while being provided a safe, secure place to thrive, instead of merely survive.
“Housing means everything. We worry about what will happen when we get older.” As I listened, my mind opened to the vision that this project holds for our community.
Its successful completion also contains the real possibility that Glennwood can become a beacon of light for many other communities across the country that are struggling with how to provide for the special needs that so many segments of our population are facing.
Susan Velasquez writes and facilitates personal development seminars. She is the author of “Beyond Intellect: Journey Into the Wisdom of Your Intuitive Mind.” Contact her at: susanvelasquez.com or (949) 494-7773.