SOUTH WINDSOR, Conn. (WTNH) – “Jarrod has multiple diagnoses. He’s been diagnosed as autistic,” says Gail Parrish, a single mom who uses sign language to communicate with her non-verbal son.
She wasn’t sure he’d ever live on his own but when she saw him, in his early 20s, picking up life skills, she had a change of heart. “I thought, ‘He deserves a life of his own. He needs to learn that he can do this,'” she remembers.
So he moved into a group home now run by non-profit agency Journey Found, based in Manchester, providing living situations for people with intellectual disabilities. “We have close to 30 homes,” explains Director of Development Monica Carr. “We provides services, 24 hour support to the people we serve.”
Corey Jernigan is Jarrod’s job coach. “He understand me, I understand him,” says Jernigan who takes the 41-year-old to deliver newspapers and volunteer at a greenhouse. “They work very well together,” says Gail. “And, just this weekend, Corey got married and Jarrod was there at the wedding.”
“I couldn’t have a big day without him. It wouldn’t be a big day – he has to be there,” says Jernigan who has a very special relationship with Jarrod.
Journey Found relies on it’s upcoming annual gala to raise much-needed funds. “It’s inspiring,” says Carr. “We tell a story, highlight one of our individuals and their story.”
“He belongs to a social club, he goes to Halloween dances, he bowls every week,” says Gail of her son who, with support, is productive, active and social. Gail says his success has exceeded expectations and she’s enormously grateful that his journey has been found: “It has worked out exceptionally well and it’s not just a home for him, it’s a family.”
The Journey Found gala, Night at the Oscars, is taking place October 25th in Glastonbury. News 8’s Sarah Cody will be there as emcee.
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