(Editor’s Note: The following story is another in a series promoting positive perceptions and understanding of people with developmental disabilities. The Preble County Board of Developmental Disabilities encourages everyone to get to know someone with a developmental disability and to listen to their story. This week, we’re sharing how three young men made a choice of moving away from the comforts of their previous home settings to live more independently.)
PREBLE COUNTY — David Condon always wanted to live in a home in the country.
Chad Swindler was living with his parents and looked forward to moving out on his own.
Jerry Davis was living with a church family and was happy, but still wanted to experience living in his own home.
The idea, however, of moving out on their own weighed heavily on their minds. Questions like what will we do if something happens, can I afford this and will all of us get along? And finally, as The Clash song goes, “Should I stay or should I go?” After carefully considering the options, they decided to go.
On Feb. 1, these young gentlemen realized a dream come true when they made the choice that living in a new home outside of West Alexandria was what they wanted to do all along. And they are so glad they made that decision.
“It’s a bigger home and I think all of us like having our own space,” David said.
Chad, 32, said with a smile that he liked living on his own because he didn’t have to go with Mom and Dad every time they went someplace.
And with a big grin on his face Jerry put it best: “We’re all like brothers! I like it!”
“When they moved in together, we could tell right away it was going to be a great fit,” said Jessica Isaacs, Service and Support Administrator (SSA) for Preble County Board of Developmental Disabilities. “All three have similar likes and when one wants to try something new, the other two are on board right away. They look forward to experiencing as many different things as they can – together.”
She said that David, 23, always wanted to attend the annual Country Concert in Fort Loramie but had trouble saving his money to buy tickets. This year, he set a goal to save up enough cash to purchase a ticket. He works at Creative Learning Workshop (CLW) in New Paris and is working even harder to save his money.
“I have wanted to go to the Country Concert forever and this year, I finally get to go,” David said. “My favorite singer is Justin Moore but I like everyone who is going to be there.”
Chad and Jerry, 24, liked the idea of going to the concert, as well. So they are saving and looking forward to the summer country classic, as well.
Chad said he is a big Alabama fan and was invited to join them on stage at Riverbend Music Center in Cincinnati where he got to meet the band.
“That was pretty cool,” he said.
The three men enjoy going to restaurants and shopping, but they also choose to do other activities to keep them busy. Jerry said he enjoys going to church and is looking forward to attending two church camps this summer. David likes target shooting with his new BB gun and Chad participates in Special Olympics and volunteers at the Mobile Farmers Market sponsored by the United Way.
Jerry also works at CLW and Chad attends Choices Fun Fit at the Preble County YMCA.
After making the choice to move into a house, the three are adjusting to their new home and to being roommates. And they all admit that sharing their new home has been rewarding and it was definitely the right choice.
Bethany Schultz, Assistant Superintendent and SSA Director for the Preble County Board of DD, said that while making choices is sometimes difficult, what really matters is that people are making their own decisions.
“Everyone has to make choices in their lifetime,” she said. “Everything from what grocery store you choose to go to, what career you would like to pursue to what neighborhood you would like to be a part of. As a board, we are here to offer support to David, Jerry and Chad, and to let them decide what kind of life they choose to live.”
Throughout the year, the Preble County Board of DD encourages everyone to learn more about the 379 people the Board supports in the community who have a developmental disability. We encourage everyone to recognize that all of us have talents and strengths that will make this a better place to live, work and play. For additional information about PCBDD, go to www.prebledd.org.