Recently Andy Berry had a birthday and this story is about how his neighborhood, Direct Support Professional and family helped him celebrate.
Andy and his DSP were taking their daily walk around his neighborhood when some of his neighbors asked them if they like their part of the neighborhood more than his area in a joking way. Andy's DSP, Ronda Figal explained to them it was Andy's birthday and he was away from family. When they returned through the neighborhood on their way back during their walk, those neighbors had written in chalk "Happy Birthday Andy" on the pavement. Andy's DSP had picked up a pizza before her coming to the house to support Andy and he enjoyed eating pizza while sitting on the sidewalk next to his "Happy Birthday" message. The neighbors then had dinner with him from about 10 feet away and brought out a violin and played the song "Happy Birthday" for him. Andy's DSP was humbled by the community involvement from complete strangers who went out of their way to make a very special day for Andy all by chance.
Andy's mom, Mara, said it has been very difficult not visiting Andy because of the current health precautions. For the first time in his life, she and his Dad were not able to be there for his birthday or Easter, it was the first time they were not together as a family. Many tears were shed over this realization. "Andy and Ronda have had some positive experiences in his community. From the plays he goes to and the compassion for him presented by his community. You guys may not think of it. But you very much are pioneers paving the way for acceptance of special needs individuals in the community. Love your team. Ron and I have a heartfelt gratitude for all of you. We are ready for this virus to get over and things to be balanced. I want to see my boy and my arms are aching for his hugs," said Mara.
Thank you Ronda and Mara for the great story. It is great to read Andy's story to see how his community is connecting with him during Stay Home, Stay Healthy.
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