Julie was friends with Jacob’s mom and years ago, she made a promise: If anything happened to her friend, Julie would take care of Jacob. When Jacob’s mom passed away and he had no place to go, Julie stepped up.
Her six children had grown up and moved out of her home, and she had the resources and space needed to care for Jacob. She decided to become a mentor through LSI’s Host Homes program.
The service provides personalized care for Iowans with disabilities who find greater success living in a private family home instead of a busier shared living space with roommates and several staff members. Clients – or “mentees” – are carefully matched with a Host Homes mentor and live with them in their home, where they can build strong relationships and become better engaged with their communities.
“Host Homes is a great opportunity. You get to know each other more personally. We have a lot of discussions and heart-to-hearts,” Julie says. “You’re changing their lives.”
Jacob moved in with Julie through Host Homes last December and now, the two are thriving. Jacob is learning to take care of himself and build the skills he needs to feel more confident and independent. He is learning to cook and enjoys looking up new recipes to try, especially meatloaf. Earlier this year, Jacob graduated high school, and he is eager to continue learning new things and visiting new places. He dreams of the day when he and Julie can go on more trips, and he is determined to visit more zoos and take a trip to Canada.
“It’s good,” Jacob says of his Host Homes match with Julie. “She makes me laugh.”