As parents of current Pathfinder Village residents, we'd like to tell you what it means to each of our families to have our loved ones cared for here at the Village. It is truly a special place where every family -- yours, too -- can write its own story.
We didn't know what Theresa was going to do when she graduated high school. We hoped and dreamed the same things we did for our other children -- that she'd become independent and find a job, grow up and have friends and be happy.
I wasn't sure how she would adjust at Otsego Academy. She had never been away from us, so this was pretty huge. Otsego Academy did an amazing job of orientation, having the students get to know each other during the summer. Now, Theresa is very independent. This is the perfect place for her to learn and be safe, and find a job that is fulfilling and challenging.
When Tom's high school experience came to a close, he began to ask us "Where am I going to college? When am I going to college?" Well, if college is about developing new relationships and having new friends, then Pathfinder was "college" for Tommy. As much as we’d love to have him at home more often, we came to realize that it’s not about us, it’s about him. He’s just so much happier where he is now.
At Pathfinder he has enjoyed tremendous success in sports, winning the gold, silver and bronze medal in swimming at the Special Olympics in Utah. At Pathfinder, he has his own close circle of friends and he just loves being with them. You constantly see everyone hugging each other here and cheering each other along. When you see that, and you’re a part of it, it’s actually hard to keep your composure sometimes. It’s really an extended family, a special place.
Linda was very happy at home with us and had a positive experience in her school years. As a family, we always thought Linda would be with us until we could no longer care for her on our own. But once we visited Pathfinder, we realized it was going to be easier for her to make the transition from our home to Pathfinder at 21 years old than at 45 years old when we had intended. If Linda lived at home she’d be limited to what we could take her to and when.
Linda’s always been a huge sports fan, and Pathfinder found her a job that matches her passion for sports perfectly. She works in a volunteer position at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. It is, quite literally, her dream job. She is so proud of that job. At Pathfinder, she is flourishing and completely independent. Pathfinder has given her the opportunity to truly write her own story, on her own terms.
Kate needed to be able to learn and do things at her speed. At Pathfinder, she finds so much meaning in being a part of her household. She actually loves to vacuum, do the dishes, or help with the laundry – she’s part of the team. She really is independent now, and genuinely happy at Pathfinder. We see the warmth and the interaction; the high fives with her friends and roommates; the kind of personal relationships she just didn’t have a chance to develop at home. You can see it in the smile on her face.
Now, she calls us on the phone. That’s something Pathfinder helped make happen for Kate. We love that she knows that she can pick up the phone and call us any time. We’re happy and relieved that we found Pathfinder and found the courage to make our decision when we did. They have figured it out up there at Pathfinder. They really have.
There was nothing locally for Michael, and we could see him starting to regress a little. He would tell us he wanted to go to college, drive a car, get married. We knew that this could never be his life.
When our older son passed away of leukemia, we decided to bring Michael to Pathfinder. We don't have anyone when we're gone to look after him. And Pathfinder is the best that life could ever give him. When he talks about Pathfinder now, he tells us, "That's my house, that's my family." There isn't any place else he would have achieved what he has here -- to be the very best that he could. If he's happy, we're happy. Bringing him to Pathfinder is the best we ever did. There's nothing like Pathfinder. This is the place.