Live – May 2022

Michael: Never surrender, find where you can grow

“I came here with nothing,” Michael said, “and now I have everything I ever wanted…a roof, food and a wife.” Life’s circumstances have challenged him to the point that his arrival to New Danville four years ago felt like the last chance to get things right. Having lost everything to Hurricane Harvey, the time for a fresh start from scratch was in order.

“Once I got to New Danville, things began to get better,” Michael said.

Michael enjoys the quiet rural environment. He, his wife and their dog are making the most of the opportunity at New Danville. They enjoy the chance to settle down. He grew up in a military family, so there was a lot of moving as he grew up, and more moving as an adult.

He attributes the New Danville environment to helping him focus on the things that matter to continue his development. Attending church services and bible study complement his other interests. “I’ve learned a lot from a lot of people over the years,” he said, “and now I’m trying to use that.”

Michael has had to be resilient. He attributes resilience to a perspective that he has gained because of his experiences, which is “just take one day at a time.”

“I’m not getting older,” Michael said, “I’m getting better. One day at a time.”


Live – April 2022

When Living at New Danville is Your Dream

“I had the same answer to everyone who asked me. Teachers in high school and college would ask me about my plans for the future. Sometimes they asked for essays. I always had the same answer. I had it in my desire to live here (New Danville). ‘I want to live at New Danville.’ That was always my answer.”

Mariann has lived in Meadowbrook, New Danville’s residential community, for several years. She had been on the Meadowbrook waiting list for a long time. She clearly believes it was worth the wait.

Prior to moving to New Danville, Mariann lived with her parents. With her eye on being a resident in Meadowbrook, “It felt like forever to get here,” she said with a broad smile.

Having friends and neighbors, and the chance to socialize as well as have private time, make for a great environment to live in for Mariann. She is involved in the day program, too, and has several things she enjoys doing when she gets home after a busy day in classes and activities. “I like walking around outdoors, relaxing and cooking. I used to cook at home with my mother and now I cook in my own home.”

She learned how to deal with bullies in high school and college, “But we don’t have that here.” When asked how she would describe Meadowbrook in her own words, she replied, “In my words: nice, peaceful, the sounds of fun.” She said she sometimes enjoys listening to her neighbors and friends having fun with get-togethers. “I like the sounds of my neighbors having fun.”


Live – March 2022

Brad likes Meadowbrook’s style

As a man who loved Boy Scouts and camping as a kid, Brad believes New Danville’s Meadowbrook community is a great place to live. Having lived in a variety of places over the years, being “in the country,” which is a first for him, suits him fine. Leaving the temperatures of Illinois behind, his solution for the heat of Texas is simple:  “Don’t go out.”

Brad likes being able to take walks and enjoy nature. “It is healthy. It is good for you,” he said about his jaunts.  He has always enjoyed walking, recalling his walks to school and church when he was younger. Walking is not his only way of getting around.

“I drive,” he said. “I go to the grocery store, my mom’s and the library.  I don’t go on the highway though. That would be dangerous.”

Brad remembers first learning about New Danville when there was little development on the campus. He didn’t move here until years later. “I have seen a lot of changes. There is a lot here now,” he said.

Brad enjoys cooking a lot and is happy to share with others his menu of the day or day before. When asked whether he took the culinary class at New Danville, he shook his head. “No, I have been cooking a long time. I enjoy it.”

Does New Danville’s environment inspire him to try camping again? “I like camping. Tent camping, like in Scouts. Not big trailer camping. I don’t think I could camp outside like I used to. It is too cold.” Part of life is leaving behind some activities and learning new ones, which Brad embraces fully at New Danville.


Live – February 2022

Looking back at life at New Danville

John lived at New Danville for several years, but had to recently change where he calls home. Still a Wrangler (day program participant), he was happy to share his thoughts about his time as a resident.

The easiest summary of John’s observations about living at New Danville would involve two words:  fun and friends.

He enjoyed hanging out with his friends. Among the many activities he enjoyed with his friends were joking around, watching television – the show MASH and wrestling on Monday were his favorites – spending time with the miniature horses and donkeys and playing basketball. Living here he could play basketball whenever he wanted, with friends or by himself.

“Sometimes on Friday we would go for pizza,” he said. “That was always fun, too.”

Among his favorite solo activities was riding his bicycle. “I like the quiet.  Sometimes I would ride around the houses and ride around the road. I like to do that a lot.”

He enjoyed having friends nearby and having a place where his sisters could come visit. In a word, it was independence.


Live – January 2022

Wrangler Wresolutions

The start of a new year and the time that many people resolve to make changes, large or small, to improve themselves in one way or another.  In a recent conversation with Wranglers Kaylyn, Pam and Richie, we gained great insights on what we call Wrangler Wresolutions.

Pam shared a resolution that many folks have at the start of the year: “I want to lose weight. It is a struggle to get the weight off.  I really need to stay away from junk food.”

Richie agreed. He wants to tackle his weight, too. “We get off our diets during the holidays and it is hard to get back to a good diet,” he said. “I enjoy the Morning Mile walk here, but I need to do more walking.”

Kaylyn’s resolution took a different angle, “I want to come to New Danville as often as possible without feeling like I need to call my mom every 24 seconds.”

All resolutions face challenges, some in our control and others less so. The Wranglers agreed that tackling resolutions is not a solo experience; goals involve family and friends.

Pam hopes her family and friends can be on the same page with her goals to help minimize food temptations.

Richie focused on the loss of socialization that comes with masks and he looks forward to masks being a part of history.

Kaylyn’s challenge is twofold, “I need to get off my phone and start walking more,” she said.

We all face resolution challenges, whether our goals are subtle or profound, big or small. Perhaps the insights and the commitment of the Wranglers to their goals will help you with yours.

Perhaps some changes coming to New Danville in 2022 will help the Wranglers whose goals include weight control and exercise.  Stay tuned!


Live: Dec 2021

Our First Respite Service Customer Shares Her Views

It didn’t take long after New Danville began its respite services that it had its first customer, a familiar face in the day habilitation program. Alyx began attending New Danville’s programs in 2008 and has long wanted to move to the residential community, Meadowbrook. The waiting list is long, but she is patient, and she got a taste of living here with a brief stay in the cabin now used for respite services.

“I loved it,” she said. “I can’t wait until I can move here someday. I am staying here for another week soon. I love it so much.”

Alyx is busy in various day program activities. A theater major, she is social and busy.  The pace changed when all the other Wranglers left at the end of the day and she was able to stay behind.

“I had my own key, and wifi and the kitchen. Since I was staying, I could use the food pantry on Tuesday. When everyone was gone, I was able to put on my workout clothes, get a bottle of water and get some exercise outdoors. I enjoyed the grounds after everyone left.”

Alyx liked the sense of independence as well as the sense of community with residents who live on site. She hopes to stay often until the time comes that there is an opening so she can live at New Danville.


Live – November 2021

Meet Lisa

Lisa

Lisa is no stranger to living in communities for adults with IDD.  New Danville is the third in her lifetime.  With such a wide range of experiences covering a few decades, she has important insights into what makes a great place to live.

Her mind is constantly busy as she shares family stories and lineage in great detail. The conversational detours provide a great chance to ask the same question a few times, and for each, the answer was the same. So true was her answer that she never wavered.

“Based on your experiences at the other communities, what do you like best about living at New Danville?” Her answer, each and every time was “the activities.” As busy as she has been throughout her life with various jobs, it is no surprise that activity means a lot to Lisa. She is very active in the various day program offerings at New Danville, and she enjoys the social activities for the residents of Meadowbrook. The recent Halloween costume party was one such event where she went “all in.”

It didn’t take long for her to switch from telling me about a movie she recently attended in town to the various Special Olympics events she has participated in. Even when she is not in motion, her mind is working, as evidenced by the thick book of word games and puzzles that she often engages with during lunch break.

Being busy is a big part of living for Lisa, and she enjoys every second of it.


Live – October 2021

Odd wildflowers are popping up all over New Danville’s grounds. They aren’t really flowers, but they are a sign of new developments.

The red, yellow, and orange plastic marker flags that flutter in the wind actually mark underground utilities. Knowing where they are is critical when it comes to how much work is soon to take place as a variety of drainage projects are underway at New Danville. “Some of the projects have been necessary for a while, and some are in preparation for plans we have for the future. It only makes sense to fix all the issues since we now have the opportunity to do so,” said Randy Smyth, Director of Operations.

Residents, parents, guardians and day program participants are happy about the changes that will change water flow on the campus and eliminate the puddling issues in Meadowbrook, as well as minimize standing water in other areas.

“As we envision a future with more facilities for residents, classrooms, gathering areas, and more, we need to begin changing the shape of our terrain. The changes are important first steps,” CEO Eva Aguirre said, “and we are blessed to have the resources to begin making these changes.”


Live – September 2021

Living on site and working at New Danville has helped both Anthony’s and Morgan’s careers, but in ways different than first expected. The decision to move to New Danville sounds like something from an HGTV show.

Antony and Morgan

Anthony was attending nursing school and working with a Wrangler when, in 2017, a coincidence of conditions brought him to New Danville as a staff member. New Danville’s leadership wanted to find someone who would be available to the Wranglers in the evenings and weekends, and could provide some basic medical assistance when needed. While attending a Parent Night meeting on behalf of his client, Anthony learned of the plan and, of the just-vacated home. 

He called his then-girlfriend, Morgan, and told her of a housing opportunity. “It’s a bit different of a situation,” he said.

“We were looking for a place to live,” Morgan said. “As soon as he brought me out here, I fell in love with it. It was unconventional but nearly perfect. After we walked through the house, I asked, “Can we do something with those cabinets?  That color has to go. Can we paint them?’ They agreed and here we are,” she said with a smile.

Anthony graduated from nursing school in 2019 and now works in an ICU unit, and Morgan recently graduated with a psychology major and human services minor. Morgan provides assistance to a few Wrangler residents.

Both observed that working at New Danville has helped their career experiences by teaching them better communications skills and patience.


Live – August 2021

“He doesn’t like stopping for anything,” Kathy said about her son, Kenny, who has lived at Meadowbrook for ten years.

“He always takes the brakes off his bike. Always. Always has, always will.”

Kenny certainly likes to be “going”…going bowling, going into town, going to New Danville’s day programs, going around Meadowbrook to say hello to all his neighbors… When he does slow down, he enjoys sitting on his front porch, enjoying the view of New Danville’s hills and neighboring cattle.

Kenny cited several things that he likes about living in Meadowbrook, New Danville’s residential community. When asked what his favorite thing about living on site was, he quickly responded.  “My friends.  Definitely my friends.”

Kathy explained that Kenny had an injury as a child that changed life. As a teacher, she learned about various programs and opportunities available to adults with special needs after they graduate from high school. “New Danville was still new,” she said, “but Kenny and I liked the environment here.  And it was affordable.” An opportunity presented itself whereby she could pay for a house to be built in Meadowbrook so Kenny would have a place to live. Her support and philanthropically minded contractors enabled her to have a house built, which she donated to New Danville. She remains active as a parent volunteer in support of the Wranglers.

He admits to wanting more things to do in the off-hours, though he keeps himself busy by brushing the animals in the animal therapy program, playing video games with his friends, and exploring the campus, usually by bicycle.  Kenny said he hopes New Danville has a community center someday with a pool table. He demonstrates the motion of stroking a pool cue, grinning at the thought of shooting a game of pool. In the meantime, he will remain on the go.

He loves riding his bike.  When asked how he stops without brakes, he said “I use my feet.” 

“Like Fred Flintstone?”  Kenny nodded with a big smile.  “Yes, yes.” As his mom reminds, Kenny lives on the go and in the moment, and usually with his warm grin.


The Social Club is back in business

It’s baaaaaccccck…and no one could be happier than the Wranglers. The Social Club is back in business, taking two social excursions per month so Wranglers can take in pizza, movies, mall trips or dining out. But, the Club is not just about having fun, enjoying each other’s company, eating yummy food, laughing, and all that good stuff.  “The Wranglers get to showcase their independence as individuals,” said Jennifer Mauboules, who now runs the program.

New Danville clients (Wranglers) enjoy Social Club visit to Cane’s for chicken dinner

2020 threw a wrench in the works of the Social Club’s plans, but the long-standing tradition has been re-engaged under new leadership after the retirement of Sherry Franklin who ran the program for years. Jennifer put a notice on the lunchroom wall at noon and by close of business the same day, all the seats for the upcoming trip were filled, she said. Of course, if a Wrangler cannot get a seat on New Danville transportation, they can have their parent/guardian provide transportation to and from the meeting place.

The group meets twice a month. As with everything at New Danville, the empowerment of the Wranglers is paramount. “They get to apply everything they’ve learned in day habilitation programs, under the guidance of staff. It helps us see other areas that we can help them learn and develop.”

Wranglers don’t attend all the activities, thus a range of offerings. Many will find the trips they like and learn how to save money for the excursion. “They learn how to save and budget, how to pay for their purchases, how to tip and so much more,” Jennifer added.

If you would like more information about the Social Club, contact Jennifer at Jennifer.Mauboules@NewDanville.org.




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