By Samantha Trezevant
It started as a group of parents, teachers and friends longing to build group homes for adults with special needs; 22 years later and it has fulfilled its mission. New Horizons Group Homes is a nonprofit agency with the mission of providing a Christian, family-orientated living environment supporting adults with developmental disabilities.
For more than 22 years, members from First Baptist Church Brandon have created three group homes in which their members thrive. The first, the Mary Lou Creamer Home, opened on June 1, 1999 and started off by housing six ladies. Next came the Alice Storms Home, where, in October of 2002, six men moved in. Finally, in December of 2017, the Peter and Brenda Watkins Home opened for six more men.
These group homes uphold the same values no matter how wide they grow. Furthermore, along with its mission to help adults with developmental disabilities, the homes enable the residents to achieve their highest potential for independence through faith, family, choices, dignity and respect.
The homes’ values are shown through quotes from people involved.
Natalie Gargano, a resident, stated, “I like living at New Horizons Group Homes because I get to go out to church with my mom, go bowling with my friends and have a free life. I also like to walk in the yard, go to the MAC and volunteer at ECHO. I also like the staff in my home.”
A parent of a member of the group homes, Brenda Watkins, said, “As a mother, I feel so blessed that our daughter, Kimberly, who has lived at New Horizons since it opened 22 years ago, feels that she is loved, treated with respect, is comfortable, is part of the New Horizons family and is encouraged to be all that God created her to be.”
This nurturing and uplifting atmosphere can be supported by the community. As the members actively support themselves through working and volunteering, the homes could use support in order to continue to flourish. The group is hosting a barbecue and silent auction, as well as constantly accepting donations. You can learn more about these needs on its website at https://www.newhorizonshomes.org/.