“My day yesterday was filled with such purpose. I’m looking forward to next Monday already. I feel rather selfish, I think I might be getting more out of the experience than I’m giving.” – Judie, Volunteer

A PERSONAL STORY BEHIND THE VISION OF COVENTRY RESERVE

In May 1993, my son Anthony graduated from High School.  Typically this is a huge milestone in the life of a teenager, a celebrated mark of progress toward independence and adulthood.  A future eagerly anticipated and planned for:  college, career, marriage, home and children of their own.

Anthony realistically would experience none of these.  At 13 months, a healthy energetic child, he contacted spinal meningitis which left devastating and irreversible brain damage. His life, and ours as his parents, was forever changed.

At age 12, we decided to add to our family and eventually two brothers and a sister shared our love and his space.  They quickly passed him in ability but developed a deep bond and acceptance that continued even through their teen years. Anthony loved school and grew up enjoying a well-rounded, full life. Perceptive and very social, he was also handsome, happy and fun.

Too quickly it seemed, he came to the end of his public school years and it was time to graduate from the Special Education Life Skills Program.  Many hours of transition planning in preparation for life after school had failed to dissolve the dreaded and looming question “What now?”  What meaningful opportunity awaited a 22 year old with limited speech and mobility, the tested IQ and attention span of a 3-4 year old that was not completely toilet trained?

We continued searching for options for Anthony and discovered a place that provided residential living with vocational training opportunities on site.  It was beautiful, peaceful and exciting.  The citizens were treated with dignity and respect and their faces reflected self-confidence and happiness.  We were totally impressed.  But Houston was simply too far away.  Why wasn’t something of that quality available in Dallas?  A dream was planted and desire began to take root.

For our son and all the other special needs adults who need a little or a lot of extra help----it was time for action. Encouraged, motivated and supported by friends with like heart and passion, we took the first step and developed the program and vision that is now called, The Coventry Reserve.

Darlene Blakey,
Co-Founder of Coventry Reserve

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