The Supported Living program is one of our largest programs, providing 24 hour guidance and support to individuals living with developmental disabilities. Our program provides a way for individuals to live their lives in a safe environment while they build important skills and independence.
For many individuals challenged by developmental disabilities, living alone is not always an option. Sometimes they need help with basic tasks, tasks others living without these disabilities may take for granted. We work with some clients that need help eating, bathing, or taking their medicine. Our work also extends to helping them accomplish more advanced household tasks like cooking, laundry, and grocery shopping.
Our Supported Living program provides homes for individuals wishing to live a more independent life. This program gives our clients a chance to live with their peers. It gives them an opportunity to learn together, experience life together, and share everyday activities. Each individual in our Supported Living program lives alongside two or three other clients where they often form great friendships. They get to enjoy a residence in a spacious home often supervised 24-hours a day by trained direct support staff. Individuals sleep, eat, and spend their leisure time enjoying life despite their challenges. These homes are always located in one of the friendly and safe residential neighborhoods in or around the Roswell community.
Domingo, Toby, Tim and Danny are a great example of this program’s success. They have been housemates for over a decade cohabitating in a farmhouse just outside the city. This home has experienced a lot of joy as the gentlemen have spent holidays, special occasions, and perfectly typical days together. With our help, these four gentlemen celebrate being a small, close-knit family. Like many other families, they have also shared challenges and difficulties. However, each moment together provides them with a rich learning experience building relationships, forming solutions, and living happily.
Monica is also great example of someone who has benefited from the Supported Living program. In exemplary fashion, Monica took it upon herself to become her own self-advocate and ultimately gain independence as her own guardian. After a five-year process of research and court hearings, she was awarded her own rights in early 2015. We believe the guidance and encouragement provided by the program played a major role in preparing Monica for the entire process.
In 2010, Monica was participating in training for self-advocacy and it was during this time that she learned about the opportunity to become her own guardian. After speaking with staff and an attorney, we at Tobosa witnessed Monica’s first steps toward independence. The steps to follow, however, were not as easy.
For individuals with developmental disabilities, the idea of full independence is not always a welcomed notion and in Monica’s case, it was a scary one. When we talk about changing the hearts and minds of the community, sometimes it is our strongest supporters we have to challenge. For Monica and her family, this was the reality. How would she challenge the status quo and prove to those closest to her that she could make this transition seamlessly? How could she prove that she was fully capable of making good decisions on her own? Although the process was long and arduous, Monica’s case was settled and with the exception of important medical decisions, she won her independence.
Unfortunately, these opportunities were not always available to individuals living with developmental disabilities. Decades ago, individuals lived in institutions and in some instances they were confined to cells. By advocating for these individuals both locally and in our state capitol of Santa Fe, we changed how and where they lived. Now, living in a comfortable and safe space can be a reality.