Eight months ago, Cedar Rapids residents Ashley and Tim Woodward made the commitment to give their time, energy, and love to welcome Chris Irish into their home and family. Chris has a developmental disability that for years had left him living with eight other individuals in an institutional group home. When REM Iowa opened its first Host Home in March of 2012, Chris was ecstatic to move into his own bedroom in Ashley and Tim’s house, finally realizing his dream of having a nurturing family and a place to call home.
REM Iowa’s Host Home Program matches adults with developmental disabilities with caring individuals we call Mentors. These Mentors are extraordinary community members who have teamed up with REM Iowa to make a difference in the life of an adult in need. REM Iowa’s Mentors have opened their homes and hearts to provide care, support, and friendship to adults with disabilities in the Cedar Rapids community. Mentors receive a competitive stipend and are offered continuous support from REM Iowa’s expansive network of health and human services professionals.
There is an urgent need for more Mentors in Cedar Rapids. REM Iowa is currently working with 11 individuals with developmental disabilities who need placement in a compassionate home. To introduce the public to our inspiring Mentors and the individuals they serve, REM Iowa is hosting an Open House at 750 North Center Point Road in Hiawatha on Thursday, November 8th from 5:00pm-6:30pm. Anyone interested in learning more about the Host Home Program is encouraged to attend.
Chris and the Woodwards have had a busy summer and fall, and Ashley and Tim remark on the progress Chris is making already. Reflecting on the Host Home Program, Ashley says “As a Mentor, the rewards have been much bigger than the challenges. This has been a great experience for our whole family. We all three grow with each other and are constantly learning new things about ourselves. It is so inspiring to see Chris becoming more comfortable with himself, getting out in the community, and enjoying life to the fullest extent.”