Everyone needs a purpose. Everyone needs to have friends. Everyone needs to feel like they are a part of something meaningful. That’s what happened to our daughter when she started Brother’s Keeper. I found Brother’s Keeper when I was “Google searching” online for programs in our area for young adults with disabilities. At the time, Brother’s Keeper was just a website and a board of directors looking for funding, so they could hire staff to start their program. I liked what their website said about the program’s goals and the kind of environment they were trying to provide for their participants. When I read about the goals Brother’s Keeper had made for what they wanted their program to be, I thought it could be a good fit for her. Once they opened, I was thrilled! I started following Brother’s Keeper on social media. I was amazed at how everything I saw Brother’s Keeper doing was something I thought our daughter would enjoy from bowling, making things, playing golf, Special Olympics, gardening, and art projects. In the Spring of 2017, I saw a posting that Brother’s Keeper was taking applications! After the application process, she was willing to give the program a try. She enjoyed both the participants and the staff. The first day she jumped in the car and said, “Mom, I met a new friend today!” By the end of the week, she was telling me about all her new friends and thanked me for finding Brother’s Keeper for her. The activities are varied, with daily devotions, skills training, exercise, community service, and lots of social interaction. She is busy at Brother’s Keeper (BK). She has made good friends and feels comfortable at her new program. She has started reading again! She was thrilled when BK went to the public library and checked out books. At the dinner table, she teaches us the sign language they are learning. She is initiating conversations at church, at home, and out with our family friends. She is singing in the car again. She very much enjoys the variety of activities from art, to Zumba to cleaning to making items to sell. She takes pride in telling family and friends when she and her friends at BK have participated in community service projects. She is happy once again and always looks forward to the many adventures of Brother’s Keeper! Brother’s Keeper is an amazing program for us. She feels she has a purpose. She knows she is part of something meaningful. We feel truly grateful and blessed to be a part of Brother’s Keeper.
Our daughter aged out of school in 2011. For five years, we were at home together all day every day. We did lots of research and made many attempts to find things for her to do. As time progressed, she became more bored and restless. We felt sorry for her but did not know what to do to enrich her life. In July of 2016, she began in the Brother’s Keeper program. From the very beginning she seemed to like it. As time has progressed, she has come to love the program and is disappointed on Saturday and Sunday when she cannot go to BK. She especially loves community outings. The mention of them really excites her. All we have to say when we wake her up in the morning is “are you going to Brother’s Keeper today?” She smiles and says “yes” and gets out of bed. It is very gratifying for us to see her approach the new day with a smile. She and our whole family especially love the Brother’s Keeper staff. They are just the best people ever. Besides loving and caring for her, they are creative and hard-working. Every day is different. The activities are wonderful. The emphasis on physical activity and exercise is especially appreciated. The gardening, cleaning around the church, and making crafts to sell gives the participants productive tasks that are manageable for young adults with disabilities. Finally, we are so happy that Brother’s Keeper is a faith-based program. The morning devotions and Bible study are great – as well as prayer time. To know that she is in the care of Christians with respect and appreciation for all life is wonderful and deeply appreciated. We look forward to watching the Brother’s Keeper grow and expand. It is off to such a good start, we know that our daughter is in for a great future.
My son loves attending Brother’s Keeper. He wakes up every day and eagerly jumps out of bed and prepares for the day. Before starting at BK, he would often sleep the morning away. Now, he stays very active all day and works on developing his skills in reading, writing, math, language, social, exercise, art, music, dancing, sports, and many more. The artwork he brings home always surprises and delights me. They take many trips for volunteering opportunities and enrichment activities which is great because he loves to be on the go. Each day begins with a devotion and ends with a prayer. He is so happy and talks about his friends and instructors all the time. When I drop him off in the mornings I know that he is having a great experience and is surrounded by many friends and caring, skillful staff. He comes home with smiles, lots of chatter and tired out!! Thanks Brother’s Keeper!!
Everyone at Brother's Keeper has a unique story. When we first moved to the area, one of the top priorities was to find a place for our son. A place for him to go during the day to have an enriched and fuller life than one just spent at home. When we discovered Brother's Keeper and explored the program we knew this was tailor made for what he needed. What we have experienced is nothing less than a miracle. Once accepted into the program we noticed several changes for the better with his behavior, health, and all-around life in general. The wide variety of community outings as well as activities and support from staff has given our son a positive disposition about going to Brother's Keeper. Also, the Christian environment and practices helped mold him with the kind of changes any parent would want to see in the development of their adult children. To sum it up, we were led to this place by the positive influence we knew it would have on our son.
I’m excited about Brother’s Keeper. It opens so many doors for so many individuals. One thing I have learned about people with special needs is that each and every person has a role in society. God made us all for a purpose. Jeremiah 29:11 says "I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future." He put us all here for a reason. They always bring joy to those around them and well as many other qualities. Giving adults with intellectual disabilities opportunities to serve in the community allows them to be used by God to serve others as only they can do.
Thank you for all you do. It is very apparent that this program is far above par and exceeds expectations! The love in this room is visible.
Brother’s Keeper is special to me. It is a place where I work and actually enjoy it. A place I can spend my day with people who care about each other. A place to learn new skills and try new things. It is unique in that we share life with people, we see where needs and hearts are through devotions and prayer requests. We practice skills that we use in the routines of each day and do activities that people do for fun and exercise (what other jobs can you do that in?). We grow a garden together, we square dance together, we play sports and walk together, build bird feeders, build corn hole boards, and go to the park.
I have been working with Brother’s Keeper participants for three years. I have seen so much growth artistically with the participants since we began this journey! BK participants are always eager to begin class and welcome me with open arms each week. I am so grateful for this experience that fills my heart with joy every week.
She can now start and carry on a conversation. She will answer a question when I ask it. She will also initiate a conversation by telling me something and wait for my answer. There can be three or four interchanges on same topic.
One of my most rewarding activities is teaching clogging every week at Brother's Keeper. I look forward to the smiles and hugs each week as I walk through the door. The smiles continue as we take turns practicing our steps in the middle of the circle. It is amazing to me as I watch them encourage and support each other week after week. It's an honor for me to share my love of dance to such an awesome group of young adults. I'm proud to say I'm a Brother's Keeper Volunteer!
I see so much growth in our two sons since they have been at Brother’s Keeper. They communicate more, they are more social, they take more initiative in helping out around the house, and they enjoy trying new things. The improvements we see in them may seem small and trivial to others; but they are considered significant and to be celebrated by those of us who live in their world.
My life is different since beginning work at Brother’s Keeper. I have a more positive outlook on things. Before, there was always a doubt of what kind of leader I could be. I walk in every morning and the love just pours out from out participants. That outpouring is always so sincere and the best part of my day. They genuinely care about how I am doing and want to see me succeed and be happy. They push me, and we encourage them to be the best version of themselves every day. I think the fact that we are a faith-based program helps. We pray and uplift each other every single day. Being in an environment where you can freely express love for Christ means the world to me. There is such a need for the community that we serve. The program we have built educates, empowers, challenges, engages, and loves our participants. I have seen growth in all our participants.