My big brother Tim, now 65, has lived at a Hammer & NER group home called First Avenue for seven years. It was our mother’s dream to get Tim into Hammer & NER and she spent two decades working to make that happen. When Tim finally was able to move into First Avenue, Mom would often say she could die happy knowing Tim is in such a perfect place for him.
Sadly, Mom passed away in July, so now I am his guardian. Fortunately, Tim has a great relationship with his caregivers, who have helped him through this difficult time. His amazing and attentive caregivers provide emotional support and make time to talk with him, and get to know what he needs to be successful. He lives with three other guys with similar interests (Vikings, Twins, and bowling!). The calendar on display in the kitchen is filled with fun activities they’ve all planned together, plus, when staffing allows, one-on-one activities.
Tim’s home is in a lovely tree-lined neighborhood, he has a comfortable and clean private room, and he stays healthy with well-balanced meals and daily exercise. The staff schedule is prominently displayed and includes photos of each caregiver which helps reduce anxiety. Tim will always ask who’s coming to work next, and then will almost always say, “Oh great! They are my favorite!!” Most important to me is that Tim is happy and content.
But . . . sometimes you worry, right?
What if Tim is no longer able to climb up the stairs at the house? Will he have to move to another, more accessible, home like his former housemate, David?
What if Jan, the Lead DSP, decides to retire? Tim needs routine and when staff leave to take better paying jobs elsewhere or retire, it is really hard on him.
What if people like you and me stop investing in the care and well-being of vulnerable people like Tim. Then what?
None of us has a crystal ball and I don’t really know what the future holds for Tim. I would like to believe the sky is the limit for him and that Hammer & NER will support Tim in what he needs and wants.
But . . . you have to be realistic and realize that what happens at Hammer & NER is not just done by hopes, dreams, and a little bit of magic.
Special individualized support takes training, time, dedicated staff and yes, money. I am proud to be a monthly donor and chip in extra when I can. Will you please join me and donate to support the caregivers at Hammer & NER?
As a happy coincidence, the week of September 10 is national Direct Support Professional (DSP) Recognition week. Your donation honors the dedicated, innovative DSPs that are the heart and soul of Hammer & NER.
I will be making my gift in honor of the tremendous DSPs at Tim’s home, including:
- Madieu, who is patient, calm, and loyal to Tim.
- Samantha, who invited all the guys to her wedding where Tim danced all night!
- Kevin, who takes Tim to Twins games.
- And Jan, who has worked at Hammer for 33 years, does it all, and really is Tim’s favorite. 😊
Thank you for taking the time to read my letter and for considering my request. It’s only with the generosity of people like you that Tim, and the 370 people Hammer & NER supports, will have what they need today, tomorrow, and into the future.
Sarah Homuth Goar
P.S. Did you know, that in addition to giving by check or credit card at Hammer.org, you can give gifts of stocks and if you are age 70 ½ or over and own an IRA, you can directly transfer funds tax-free? For questions, contact Ellen Timmerman-Borer, Chief Development Officer at Ellen.TBorer@Hammer.org or 952-277-2433.