The National Advocate for People with Down Syndrome Since 1979

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Love Is A Home
Love Is A Home

Our son, James P. Conlin, prefers the nick names Jimmy and Jimbo. He was born March 9, 1968. At birth we learned that Jimmy was a child with Down syndrome. Days later when he arrived home in Northboro, MA his siblings greeted him with curiosity and love. They were aware that Jimmy was very special because we told them so. He is the 6th of seven children. We moved our family to Framingham, MA in 1970. We realized Jimmy would face profound challenges, being non-verbal and developmentally disabled. By his 30th birthday his siblings were happily married. The days in our large colonial home were quieter. However the siblings still share many good times together. Jimmy became eligible at age 22 to receive money from the state for residential and day services. His name was on the Massachusetts's State Waiting List. Meanwhile we began a search to learn about the types of homes available to serve Jimmy if and when we'd be unable to care for him. Our goal: to ensure that Jimmy would have permanent shelter and care in a home adapted to meet his needs. In the mid 90's our search crossed the paths of 3 other families, each of whom also had a child with profound challenges. Their ages were within a five year range, 26 to Jimmy's 31. The four families were also close to each other geographically: Marlborough, Natick and Framingham. All of us were united with a common goal to establish a home designed to meet the needs of our children, who were unable to provide for themselves. Throughout the next few years we met regularly to develop our course of action. Compatibility and commitment among the families have provided needful and pleasant strength. We teamed together to form Windward Associates of Marlborough Inc. Our group, supported by the Dept. of Developmental Services (DMR), formed partnerships with the city and local businesses. We found an ideal location in Marlborough in a desirable area for our children. The newly constructed 4 bedroom group home named the Windward Home, held a dedication ceremony on May 4th, 1999. Then within days Robin, Tammy, Michael and Jimmy became the home's first residents. Sadly, Michael has since passed away. Rob is the newest resident. Other comments: (1). Framingham-based Advocates Inc. has been the sole provider of the day and night services. (2). Windward's bulwark is it's family involvement. The Windward Board, of which parents are members, is required to meet four times per year, more if necessary. (3). Costwise, both the parents and state benefit. "This home will improve the quality of life for these young adults and their families," said Rosalind Niles. Ms. Niles was director of community development in Marlborough at the time of ground breaking ceremony December, 1998. We hope that our story serves as a model and an inspiration in helping families who have children with developmental disabilities. Authored by Jimmy Conlin's parents, Jane and Leonard




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Amy Wright, United States, SC
3/15/2011 8:35:29 PM
a true testament to the power of love!

Faye K. Clarke BSRN, United States, CT
4/8/2011 5:42:37 PM
This marvelous story is an example of the joys which can be experienced when families, government, and charitable groups join forces. Our family has been blessed to know Jimmy and his wonderful family.

Teri Riddle, United States, MA
3/3/2011 12:22:38 PM
We need more of these stories .. this was awesome!

Joan Moynagh Sholley, United States, MA
3/3/2011 11:36:36 AM
My Aunt Jane and Uncle Len have been an inspiration to me my entire life. The story of Windward House is just one example of the love and compassion they have shown Jimmy, their six other children, and the many adoring and admiring members of their extended family

Daria Meshenuk, United States, MA
3/3/2011 11:33:09 AM
What a wonderful tribute to the power of caring and teamwork. So much more can happen when people come together to create new alternatives. This was beautifully written and inspiring. Not only Jimmy, but also his family and all those who work with them

Katherine, United States, CT
3/3/2011 11:15:06 AM
What a wonderful story about a wonderful boy with wonderful friends and wonderful family(s) surrounding him. Thank you for this article and the love you have for special people. Happy Almost Birthday Jimbo!

Leigh King, United States, MA
3/3/2011 9:09:11 AM
Len and Jane and their clan set the bar very high for the rest of us! I am very proud of the work they have done on behalf of Jimmy, Honored to be part of the family and in awe of the example they set for us in the next generation of the "Kingdom."

F. Michael Clarke, United States, CT
4/8/2011 5:39:15 PM
A wonderful story of parents dedicated to the wellbeing their son Jimmy, Involvement with their children, grandchildren and the community are hallmarks of their life together. For us it's great to be a part of their lives.

ANN king, United States, MD
3/2/2011 11:25:32 PM
THIS FAMILY HAS TAUGHT ALL WHO KNOW THEM WHAT lOVE IN ACTION MEANS. they always had such deep love for Jimmy and included him in all that they did. They respected him as a person always. All who knew them pulled together to make this home become a reality

John Moynagh, United States, MA
3/5/2011 1:03:34 PM
This is a vote for Jimmy Conlin!

Mary A Sullivan, United States, MA
3/6/2011 4:42:22 PM
This is a beautiful story

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