“Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual,
you have an obligation to be one.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt
“Aaron’s Place” was named after a student that attended Northwest’s Child many years ago. He lived his life with a degenerative disability that would ultimately take him from us. He was a bright star in our life and lived each day with a smile and a corny joke. His biggest goal was to reach the age of 21… and he did just that! Soon after, however, Aaron passed away.
We were very fortunate to have had Aaron in our lives and we were determined to use this experience to create a program exclusively for young adults, like Aaron, who continue to require a great deal of supervision, care and support as they get older. Aaron reminded us that we all have a right to a happy, purposeful life surrounded by our friends and family regardless of our limitations or our age. He also reminded us to enjoy the little things in life like that joke that only your friends will laugh at, the friends that you look forward to seeing each day and the ability to enjoy all that our community has to offer.
Before the opening of Aaron’s Place, families were faced with very few choices; give up their jobs and stay home with their adult child, place their adult child prematurely into out-of-home placements or leave them with untrained individuals. Some families were faced with placing their young adult child in local nursing homes or day programs designed for the elderly. Clearly none of these options were ideal nor provided them the type of quality of life their families hoped for them.
In September of 2004, Aaron’s Place was established to meet the serious need of day services for young adults who have recently graduated from high school at age 21. These individuals have a wide variety of special needs and developmental and physical disabilities that often keep them from total independence and from full integration into their community. Aaron’s Place is the first program of it’s kind in Washington designed specifically to meet the full day needs of young adults with severe/profound developmental and physical disabilities.
Our goal was to establish a program that can provide a full day program ( from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm) Monday through Friday on a year round basis in order to offer a number of vocational, social and independent living activities and skills for each client. Aaron’s Place is staffed with a head teacher as well as a number of assistants that work in a one-to-one capacity with each client each day.