“I want to move forward.”
Lenny, a resident of the Southern Tier, had a troubled life with serious behavioral issues. He lived at Broome Developmental Center until they discontinued the services he required. He needed a place to live, a place where he could grow, and move forward towards a life with more meaning and independence. EPI residential housing in the Binghamton area was the perfect fit for him.
Lenny has spent 5 years with EPI, the first two at the Pigeon Hill site in Chenango and now at Twist Run Road in Endicott. His first several months in the new environment were challenging and it took a while for Lenny to find his new path. But EPI helped Lenny find things that he was passionate about, helped him learn self-control, and how to think before he acts. He is now on the road to his dream of living on his own.
“Our goal is to help residents like Lenny thrive and get to the point where they need staff less and less until they don’t need us at all,” said Chris Hinkley, Broome Community Services Supervisor. “We help them develop everyday skills like cooking, cleaning, and budgeting, as well as life skills involving interactions with others. We also try to find interesting, fulfilling experiences to enhance their lives.”
Lenny’s experiences with EPI in day services have led him to develop several passions. He loves the outdoors and fishing. A few years ago, he began volunteering with a woman who rescued abused horses. He helped her as she tried to get them healthy and trust humans again. The horses’ response to Lenny was almost magical.
“I watched Lenny with the horses and saw how well they listened to him,” said Jeff Sinsebox, EPI President. “He tapped on a bucket and they lined up for him. He stood there with his back towards them and one horse put his head on Lenny’s shoulder. It was a very touching sight. They bonded in a way I have never seen and Lenny had no formal training for this.” Today Lenny is helping the woman and her husband on the weekends with another farm in the area. He does everything from working with the horses to cleaning out stalls and helping maintain the property. When he’s not helping with the horses, Lenny spends much of his time fishing at local parks.
Lenny also assisted at a site that readied cars for demolition derbies. He helped tear old cars apart and strip them down to rid them of fabric and flammable materials. He was a fast learner and could soon do this process in about half an hour. He also enjoyed painting the cars to get ready for events.
Although he is happy at Twist Run, his goal is to have his own apartment. Staff are helping him in the process and he hopes this will happen for him later this year. “I want to move forward,” said Lenny. “And I want to keep looking forward.”
Learn More about Developmental Disabilities