John [center] surrounded by his siblings, Catherine [left], Bill [back] and Mary [right].

I have an older brother, John, who lives with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Throughout his adult life, he has lived in four different places. The first, was lovely, but ill-equipped to handle his temperament at the time. The second was a state-run institution that seemed like a great place, where he seemed happy. Note the use of the word “seemed.” 

You see, one day (as one of his guardians) I received notice that a criminal case against some of his caregivers had been dismissed. The sad reality is up to that point, I had been kept unaware that he had been hit and that an investigation had been underway. Thanks to my sister (another guardian), we quickly re-located him to another, privately-run group home for adults with disabilities.

This went well for a stretch of years, but we again hit a crisis when his weight dropped, mistakes with medications were made, and the overall level of care dropped immensely. We were again on the search for a permanent home for him. Enter L’Arche Chicago, a faith inspired organization committed to welcoming adults with intellectual disabilities. 

Thanks to L’Arche Chicago, John now lives in a lovely home in Forest Park, Illinois which he shares with a handful of people with and without disabilities. His caregivers are smart, enthusiastic and view what they do as connected to their life’s mission. Recently John needed surgery and one of his caregivers spent hours upon hours with him in the hospital. She was constantly keeping us up to date, while accompanying him as they watched reruns of M.A.S.H. episodes. Our family feels so fortunate to have found such a place for John to live out the rest of his life. 

I can’t fully express the stress it has relieved for our entire family, including my elderly mother who has lived with the ongoing worry of, “what would happen to John?”

L’Arche Chicago is raising money to open a new fully accessible home for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The first $40,000 raised will be matched dollar for dollar! Please donate to help L’Arche expand its impact and enable others like John to live in this thriving community. Learn more at www.larchechicago.org/opendoors

— Mary Monday
Sister of L’Arche Chicago core member, John

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