Rockin' and Rollin' with Adam Bender
I have always liked music and was interested in rock-and-roll and the guitar sound ever since I was young. I started playing after I won a guitar at Cedar Point, and I started taking lessons from someone who worked in JARC's "Making Community Connections" program and had his own band. Now I'm taking lessons at FAR Conservatory in Birmingham.
I have written a few songs and recorded them. The songs I have recorded so far are "Stuck At Home Blues" and "Travel With Me." I'm working on another song which is titled "Baby, You're The One." I enjoy listening to my songs and hope that everyone else will enjoy them also.
- Adam Bender - August, 2013
The Transformation of Ross Flack
Ross Flack was 25 years old when he came to JARC, and he had spent many years living in a state institution. He didn’t talk much except for when he wanted something, and even at those times he would sometimes use behavior as a form of communication to get what he wanted or to make a need known. If he did talk it was often in the form of a demand, and usually in a somewhat harsh tone. - “I’m hungry!” Or “I want lunch!” would be commonly heard from him.
Ross wouldn’t be able to sit still long enough to do something like watch a movie, a live show, or a TV program. He would have to get up and move away from the group after only a few minutes of this type of activity. Ross also did not like to be touched and would avoid physical contact with others, except as noted previously. Persons like Ross can experience touch as being unpleasant for a variety of reasons – possibly because they process sensory stimuli differently, or possibly because they have suffered abuse at the hands of people who were supposed to be caring for them.
To know Ross today, it's hard to believe that any of this history was true. He is now in his 50's, much more social and enjoys being around people. He readily greets visitors to his home with a “Hi buddy!” and a smile. He will even initiate a handshake or a hug – depending on how well he knows you. When he asks for something he will actually ask and not demand. He is eager to help out around the house – either being with staff or with his housemates. He smiles and sings when he is happy.
These changes were facilitated in Ross because JARC was doing what we now call “Gentle Teaching” before it was known by a name. The staff working with Ross provided him with a sense of being safe and loved, so he could in turn become loving and engaged. Ross has had the benefit of consistent people in his life with whom he has developed loving relationships. Staff learned to make him feel safe and cared for. Gentle Teaching truly emulates JARC’s tag line: Enriching lives and erasing barriers by allowing those we serve to experience companionship, connectedness and community.
Spending Quality "Girlfriend" Time
JARC's dedicated Person-to-Person volunteers work directly with the individuals JARC serves, sharing their time as well as their friendship. It's very apparent that Person-To-Person Volunteer Janis Shulman and Caryn Martel, who lives at the Keller/Walch Home in Farmington Hills, always look forward to spending time together.
Not only do Janis and Caryn regularly work out together at the JCC in West Bloomfield, they also go shopping, out to lunch and get in some quality "girl time." Janis has invited Caryn to her home where they share recipes and tips on healthy meal preparation. And, since Caryn loves to make jewelry, the ladies have gone to stores looking for particular beads and craft supplies to make lots of beautiful necklaces and bracelets.
When not together, the two women keep up with each other's lives by phone and email. Says Caryn, "I really enjoy spending time with Janis. I like her a lot!" Adds Janis, "Caryn is kind, caring, she has a good sense of humor and is fun. These are all things you want in a friend, and I value the special friendship we share. We never run out of things to talk about or things to do. JARC is about enriching lives; Caryn has truly enriched mine."
Keyur Shahane: Caring and Compassionate
I'd like to write little story about this amazing guy named Keyur Shahane.
I remember the first day we met, as if it was yesterday. It was my first day working at JARC and it was Keyur’s first time in his new home. This is probably why we connected so fast. We learned and grew together, helping each other along the way to develop a level of understanding that has helped each of us through various challenges. After spending a great deal of quality time learning Keyur’s character and interests, I realized he is just like the rest of us! He enjoys socializing with people just like we all do. He is also very affectionate and loves to express his love and compassion to everyone he meets! I'd like to share one story that deeply impacted the relationship between Keyur and me.
One day, we went to Cedar Point and we had wonderful time. As we were traveling back to Michigan, I developed a horrible headache and was obviously not feeling well. While I was rubbing my head, Keyur looked at me and said "are you sick?" I answered, "yes, just a headache". He responded, "You should take some medication and rest". He helped me by rubbing my forehead and making sure that I was comfortable. He was so gentle and understanding in that moment. I was shocked at the fact that he cared for me just like anyone else would have. It truly melts my heart when I think about how wonderful Keyur is, how much he touches the heart and lives of everyone he meets. We are truly lucky to have him as a part of our JARC family!
By Rosemary Langevin, Program Coordinator
For information about volunteering at JARC, contact Jessica Tierney, JARC’s Philanthropy Outreach Coordinator at 248-488-7549 or click here.