By Samantha Young, Assistant Program Manager at Hammer Residences

I have supported Jeanne, who lives at our Queensland home, since the day I started working at Hammer. Like everyone, holidays are also really important to the individuals we support. Jeanne usually spent the holidays with one of her housemates’ families. However, earlier this year, the housemate who Jeanne shared holidays with, passed away.

When Thanksgiving rolled around this year, Jeanne’s other housemates were all going home to be with their families for the holiday. I knew this year Jeanne would be the only one that would not have a place to go, because of the passing of her housemate. It broke my heart to think that Jeanne would not have a place to go for Thanksgiving. Everyone deserves to have someone to spend time with during the holidays, so I asked if it would be possible for Jeanne to come home with me to celebrate with my family. I was thrilled when I got the green light to include Jeanne in my family’s Thanksgiving celebration. Seeing Jeanne’s face light up with excitement when I asked her if she wanted to go home with me to celebrate the holiday, truly made my day.

Samantha and Jeanne enjoying a meal with Samantha’s family.


Our Thanksgiving was amazing. My incredible family was so welcoming and inclusive. Jeanne can sometimes be shy around people she does not know. I was overjoyed to see her sharing with my family, things about her life and what she likes to do. When I dropped her off at home later that night, I listened to her tell the staff members about her day. I knew this day meant more to Jeanne, then I ever could have imagined.

People tell me what I did was very sweet however, that was not the reason I asked Jeanne to come to Thanksgiving. Just like you invite your loved ones and/or family to your holiday gathering each year, I did just that. I enjoy spending time with Jeanne. The individuals I support at Hammer feel like part of my family. I wanted to make sure Jeanne knew that she always has a family and a loving and welcoming place to spend the holidays.