Gabriel Homes resident Kari (right) with her niece (left).

A Radical Idea

In 1982, Gabriel Homes’ founders had, at the time, a radical idea that adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) could live independently. Gabriel Homes supports over 20 adults today who can live independently and achieve their dreams. 

The move from family to independence isn’t easy, though. Like moving into your college dorm, the process can feel unknown and scary. The first few nights in a new home can feel unsettling, but with time, it becomes familiar and comforting. You begin to build your new community, and they rally around to support you. 

Gabriel Homes spoke with Linda, a parent of one of the residents. She shared her experiences with her daughter’s move and how Gabriel Homes empowers her and her daughter today. 

Two Gabriel Homes residents at the spring fling.

How did you and your daughter originally feel about her moving into her own space?

“Kari moved to Gabriel Homes in 2001 when she was young. Both she and I were unsure about moving. I did all her cooking, laundry, and other chores, and I didn’t know who would do these things for her. 

“The answer was Kari learned how. Gabriel Homes taught Kari how to live independently, and they helped her when she needed assistance doing tasks for the first time.” 

Angie, January, and Kari at the golf tournament.

What did the before-and-after look like for Kari's move?

“Before she moved, she didn’t want to leave home; today she doesn't want to come back! She goes to the Reston concert with her best friends, and they're able to take the bus to the show without any help. 

“I also wasn’t sure how she’d adjust to working, but she told me she loved her job at ECHO. Living on her own, Kari lives a life like everyone else.”

John, Kari, John, and January at the golf tournament.

How has independent living made a difference in both of your lives?

“For my husband and me, it’s allowed us the freedom to travel the world. Even when we’re in a different country, we feel secure knowing Kari is safe, and Gabriel Homes staff holds her accountable for doing her chores. Gabriel Homes brings me great comfort knowing she will be O.K.

“More importantly, Kari is a far more confident person. She lets me know what she wants to do, and she’s capable of making her own decisions. As an independent person, Kari has a home and a community that are there for her and supportive of her goals.”

Kari at Christmas.

What advice do you have for family members of adults with IDD?

“Give your family member the opportunity to live independently as soon as possible. They may make mistakes, but they'll also learn and grow from them. You'll be surprised how bright they are when you give them a chance.”

Are you interested in applying for Gabriel Homes?

Visit our Prospective Residents page to get all the information you need for yourself or your loved one.

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