What has life been like for someone who has been at New Danville since the day it opened? That is a Wrangler’s Tale; that is Brooke’s tale, and that of her parents, Diane and Jerry.
“I remember the first day,” Brooke said. “It rained so hard. Water was running through the tent. But I came back.” It was 15 years ago that she first attended New Danville’s day habilitation program. About 18 months ago she was able to move to Meadowbrook, New Danville’s residential community.
Jerry said, “They had the tent, the cabin and that was it. Oh, and porta-potties.” Diane smiled with an observation, “Things have certainly changed here.” The cabin has become a classroom and food pantry, and has been joined by homes for 36, a greenhouse, two classroom buildings, the recently dedicated Charbonneau Family Building for pallet manufacturing and more. Amidst all the changes over the years, Brooke and her parents have been involved in just about everything New Danville has ever offered.
When asked what the most important change was for her when she moved to Meadowbrook, Brooke was quick to answer, “Friends. Being social.” She nodded often as Diane expounded on what it means to the family, including their pet dog, for Brooke to be part of a community and a typical lifestyle. “She and her friends socialize, and Jerry and I come up to spend the weekend with Brooke sometimes in her place. Her place…that makes all the difference. Independence is special.”
Jerry and Diane volunteer much of their time to New Danville. Jerry helps out in the woodshop and Diane at Jazzy Junque, along with the help they provide at various activities such as the recent Christmas Marketplace where Wranglers were able to shop for free to get presents for their loved ones.
It is clear that being busy comes naturally to Brooke. Over the years, she has worked in woodshop and in the production program, participates in the Social Club, enjoys a variety of classes and was part of the recent Christmas Parade float that won the Outstanding Float Trophy at the superheroes-themed parade in Willis, TX. Of course, she also has her eye on additional things she’d like to see at New Danville, such as a community/rec center. She is looking forward to the soon-to-be-created park area that will have stationary exercise equipment. Jerry wrapped up the Brooke story nicely. “She has a community and she is living on her own like anyone else.” Diane and Brooke smiled and nodded affirmation of the Wrangler’s Tale of good times.