Zach, a Perkins adult resident, is a remarkable young man with a zest for life and a myriad of passions, but he’s not able to be fully independent. So this year we ask you, our supporters, what if your adult child couldn’t care for himself?
Zach, 33, was diagnosed as autistic at an early age. His parents, Mary and Keith, served as strong advocates on his behalf, searching for the best places to serve his complex needs as he grew. He attended middle school at Doctor Franklin Perkins School, returned to his home district to attend high school, and then chose Perkins again for our adult day program when he turned 18.
10 years later, when Zach’s dad passed away, Mary knew then that she needed to make a plan for his future. “As a parent of an adult who can’t live independently, you worry about that time when you’re not here anymore. Who is going to look after every little detail, make sure he eats properly,and goes to the dentist? No one knows what your child needs like you do.”
The day Zach moved into his apartment at Perkins, Mary was prepared to sleep in a chair in his room to be sure he was comfortable. But Zach was home from the moment he got here. “See you tomorrow,” he told his mom.
Living with special needs is often a lifelong challenge that requires a community of support. As a Perkins supporter, you are already part of that community.
Zach lives in one of Perkins’ independent apartments. He receives support from staff to complete routine activities like grocery shopping, laundry, banking and budgeting, and getting out and about. He also participates in the vocational program as a member of the Clean Team that provides all janitorial services for the adult facility. He earns minimum wage, which he puts towards his expenses. Mary visits him often, logging almost 3,000 steps a day together at the advice of Zach’s doctors.
When he’s not working with the Clean Team or hanging with his friends, Zach’s greatest joy is volunteering one morning a week at the Clinton Fire Department, keeping the floors swept and the vehicles clean. The Firefighters call him “Captain Zach.”
Mary remembers tearing up as Zach belted out “I Don’t Want to Miss A Thing” by Aerosmith at his Doctor Franklin Perkins School talent show in middle school. And she’ll never forget when the Clinton Fire Department made Zach his very own helmet and shield. “I take great comfort in having Zach at Perkins. He’s safe and comfortable, and the staff are very kind. This is his home.”
Your gift today will support us in helping adults with special needs – like Zach – as well as the other children, youth, and families served by Perkins to live fulfilling lives in a safe and caring environment. Together, we can make a difference. Please consider supporting Perkins with your generous gift today.
If you’d like to view a PDF version of Zach’s story, please click here.