My Home My Life provides scholarship for young woman with intellectual disabilities to attend summer camp at Marbridge Foundation
Marbridge’s mission is to serve adults with cognitive and intellectual disabilities in a caring, loving community. Every summer, week-long camp sessions are offered to individuals aged 16-30. My Home My Life stepped forward to offer its first scholarship to a camper in need of financial assistance.
AUSTIN, TEXAS: Many adults with cognitive or intellectual disabilities strive to become as independent as possible. Founder of My Home My Life, Scott Bennett’s son Sam is no exception. Sam is a young adult diagnosed with moderate Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD). Bennett founded My Home My Life to help people like Sam and their families prepare to live as independently as possible in the housing community of their choice. This includes a week at Marbridge’s summer camp each year.
Camp Marbridge offers campers the ability to learn new skills, spend time with like-skilled and like-minded peers, experience more independence within a supervised setting, prepares young adults for transition from high school or a home setting to a more independent life like that offered at Marbridge, all while providing families with a week of respite.
“There are dozens of what I refer to as purpose based housing communities across the country that really do a great job serving the housing and life assistance needs of vulnerable people with significant intellectual disabilities,” commented Bennett. “We know first-hand as parents of Sam how difficult and stressful life and future housing needs can be. Parents worry constantly about who will care for their adult child after they are gone. Marbridge is an answer for many of us. And their overnight summer camp program is often the first opportunity for both parent and child to learn the skills and gain the confidence to live independently of one another.”
Several summers ago while sitting at Joe’s Coffee off Congress Avenue in Austin, Bennett was waiting to pick up Sam from Camp Marbridge when a stranger asked if he and his wife could share a table. Scott welcomed the sit down and a conversation ensued. That person was James Stacey, the CEO at Marbridge. As they talked business, Bennett inquired about being able to afford lifelong care for Sam and the frustration in the huge financial burden to provide the best independent living environment.
This is a common question and many families either feel overburdened, under educated, or held hostage with the regulations and extremely long waiting periods for accepting government funding. Bennett feels that an intentional living community, like Marbridge, would be the best situation for adults like Sam to not only have the choice to live, but thrive. Empowered with more information, and inspired over a cup of coffee, Bennett developed a unique nonprofit business plan to expand the living choices for families with adults with special needs.
My Home My Life was founded in 2018 as result of Bennett’s passion that people with IDD should be able to live where they and their families choose and cost shouldn’t be a barrier. My Home My Life helps underserved people with intellectual and developmental challenges, afford and access communities like Marbridge.
Long term, Bennett hopes to create a permanent endowment to serve as a financial resource for communities like Marbridge and people like Sam to receive the gap funding they need to live in the environment that best suits their needs, regardless of ability to pay. Overnight summer camp specializing in serving the needs or individual with IDD is how My Home My Life and Marbridge partnered for the first time.
This year, Marbridge received an application from Jenna, a young woman, with IDD, and her family to attend the Camp Marbridge, but they had concerns about the tuition cost for the week-long camp. After reviewing the application and speaking with the family, Marbridge felt that Jenna would benefit greatly from being at summer camp and recommended Jenna be considered for a camp scholarship through My Home My Life.
“I just want to say bless your heart and thank you My Home My Life. I cried when my mom told me I would be able to go Camp Marbridge this summer,” said Jenna, age 27.
Bennett and his organization stepped forward and provided their first “CampShip” (or camp scholarship) to Jenna who will attend Camp Marbridge this summer.
“We’re very grateful to My Home My Life and Marbridge. Jenna has a cocktail party personality and just loves people. However, she’s also very vulnerable. Church is very supportive, however, Jenna really craves a social life with her peers. And we trust the people and staff at Marbridge,” reflected Jenna’s mother.
Jenna was diagnosed with Williams Syndrome and currently lives at home with her mom while working three days a week at United Market Street in Wichita Falls, where she sacks groceries and helps customers. She loves her customers and they reciprocate the same feeling.
Marbridge seeks community assistance to help underwrite the cost of several important annual events throughout the year including summer camp, fundraising and volunteer events, and special events on campus for residents. My Home My Life is one of the first to help underwrite the cost of a camper’s tuition for the week. Marbridge anticipates a lasting partnership with the growing nonprofit and hopes other companies in the Greater Austin Area and beyond will follow their example and step forward to keep this momentum going.
Those interested in learning more about Marbridge’s summer camp or any part of Marbridge can visit Marbridge.org or contact the admissions department at 512.735.2704. More information about My Home My Life can be found by visiting MyHomeMyLife.org.