According to the CDC, in the next decade 500,000 more teenagers with autism spectrum disorder will age out of their school-based services and move into adulthood. As adults, the need and desire for person-centered housing opportunities is growing exponentially, and currently over 80,000 individuals sit on waiting lists that can be as long as 15 years. Home is where the heart is and has become more important than ever in 2020. Everyone deserves a place to call home.
Meet Cassie, she was on that waiting list and came to Greystone’s Dancing Bear home when she was in her twenties. Cassie came to Greystone Programs during a rough time, as both of her parents were ill and unable to care for her.
Greystone’s Dancing Bear home is unique on the exterior and sits on a beautiful piece of land. However, on the inside, it is even more beautiful — full of love, trust, beautiful hearts, minds and personalities of the individuals we support.
Cassie arrived at Dancing Bear in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic — her first time in a residential setting — with the sweetest attitude, at a time when Dancing Bear was still mourning the loss of Shane. Shane was one of the first to call Dancing Bear home over 20 years ago. Sadly, we lost Shane after a long and courageous battle with breast cancer earlier this year. She was the embodiment of what we do in the human services field and at Greystone Programs. With the dedicated support and encouragement of Greystone, Shane realized her fullest potential – showing all of us how to live full, meaningful and independent lives. Shane proved to everyone that nothing was going to stop her, life is worth living and that she was indeed a fighter. Her spirit will live forever in our hearts.
Cassie quickly became buddies with her new housemates. She shares Nicole’s determination, Amy’s inquisitiveness, Jonathan’s love of nature, Clyde’s ability to settle in anywhere and Stephen’s ambition. She also shares some of their independent traits! Cassie refused certain foods when living at home with her parents. Within a few days of being at Dancing Bear, Cassie was eating foods that her Dad had said she hadn’t eaten in years.
After the painful loss of Shane, Cassie has been a breath of fresh air and a bright light at Dancing Bear. Her presence has encouraged Amy and Nicole to become more social. Stephen and Jonathan enjoy having someone else who can keep up with them outdoors and during activities in the house. Cassie is enjoying her life and is living it to the fullest at Dancing Bear.
The current needs continue and tremendous resources are required to support Cassie and others. The coronavirus pandemic and state cuts have strained Greystone’s financial resources requiring the help of our community. The year has been challenging for all of us; and asking for support is certainly not easy. If you have the means, please consider a gift to help ensure that the lives of those who live with autism and other developmental disabilities in Greystone homes and programs continue to be enriched and fulfilled.
Thank you, from the bottom of our heart,