Leah, a 32-year-old woman living with cerebral palsy has been part of the Tavon Center family since it opened in 2003. When speaking about Tavon, Leah and her mother Sue use the word “family” very deliberately. With an environment of support and friendship, Tavon is very much Leah’s second home.
Leah comes to Tavon three afternoons each week, providing an important respite for Sue and sense of continuity and community for Leah. The two describe how Tavon is much more than a place where Leah’s physical needs are met. It’s a place where Leah can connect with others, give back to the community and challenge herself.
Leah uses a wheelchair and communicates largely with thehelp of her computer. But, as both she and her mom explain, there’s much more to Leah than meets the eye: a creative soul who journals almost every day, a loving Aunt “Roo Roo” to her nephews and a capable young woman. And, humor is clearly a huge part of this family’s life. Mother and daughter have named Leah’s left arm “Bob.” “Bob” is prone to spasms (a condition that is often part of cerebral palsy) and “very uncooperative,” as they explain with a wry smile.
“Everyone at Tavon gets Leah,” says Sue. “They appreciate her humor and her laughter. They know when she needs something…and, equally important, when she could push herself to try something new. And, of course, they all know Bob.”
This type of humor and familiarity only exists in a family atmosphere such as Tavon. With additional resources, Leah and Sue hope Tavon can expand their reach and bring their special sense of family to more adults with various special needs.
“I get to make friends, get out of the house and do fun things,” says Leah. “I love to do art, garden and cook at Tavon. There’s always a lot of laughter.” Leah also points out how she likes that a large part of Tavon’s mission is helping others in the community. “That makes me feel wonderful,” she says.