This Post was originally posted on SteppingStoneCommunities.org on July 16, 2019
It was six years ago when a small group of parents met in a living room to discuss the future of their recent high school grads who happened to have developmental disabilities.
Gone was the small army of special ed teachers to usher our kids through the maze of growing up. Gone were the friends from school who had now headed off to college or into their own apartments, ready to launch their adult lives and follow their dreams. But our kids were back home, parked in front of the TV, with no real future and nothing to dream about.
Our first thought was independent housing, and we began looking for an appropriate property. But it became clear that this was not going to be easy, and we detoured toward a prevocational training program where our kids could be active and productive. That program, Stepping Stone Support Center, under the direction of CEO Bryn Baldassari, opened in 2013 and grew into an amazing community that now serves over 125 adults.
Still, our kids came back home to Mom and Dad every night. Some wondered why their brothers and sisters were moving into apartments, partying with friends and living independently. With Stepping Stone Support Center well-established, we turned our attention back to the residential question. We believed that our adult children with DD deserved their independence… but what would that look like.
For the next four years we dreamed and designed and planned. We explored many funding options. We researched governmental limitations, management models, universal design, emerging technology, security programs and more. For three years, we met with experts, revised our plans, did more research and revised our plans again. Our first funding option turned out to be unworkable and our first land deal fell through. But there was a problem to be solved, and no one else was going to do it for us.
From the beginning, we were constantly confronted with the question “How will you pay for it?” And for six years, we have had to answer that first we needed to have a location, a plan and a team in place before we could begin raising the money.
Now, at last, six years after those first discussions, we have a location, we have a plan and we have a great team in place. At last, after six years, we can actually BEGIN!!!
What we know now is that we can raise 1/3 of our costs with tax exempt municipal bonds. That process has begun.
What we know now is that through the incredible generosity of builders, engineers and suppliers, we can pay for 1/3 of the buildings with in-kind donations. That process has begun.
And what we now know for sure is that we will need many generous donations to make up the final 1/3 of the costs. So, let’s begin!
We need 500 people to donate $1000 each. Or 100 people to donate $5000 each. Or 1,000 people to donate $500 each. Do you see yourself in any of these groups?
What we know most of all is that there are generous people out there like you who will make this happen. We thank you all in advance!