Will my son, Troy, always live with us? Will he have a fulfilling career? What will happen to my son when my husband and I pass away? These are questions every special needs parent must face.
That’s why I’m thrilled about a new community in my hometown in Florida that answers this question with new life and opportunity.
Promise of Brevard is a 39 acre community especially for individuals with disabilities. It will have independent housing with support for over 120 residents with disabilities, as well as vocational training and employment at one of its 9 businesses on campus.
The community is the realization of a promise Betsy Farmer made to her son, Luke, when he graduated from high school. Luke wanted to live independently and work like his typical brother, Josh.
Betsy realized then that there were few opportunities for her son to live a purpose-filled life. In fact, of the 126 future residents of Promise, only 20% are currently employed.
Betsy and a group of other special needs parents set out to change that with Promise.
“Promise is a place where young adults with special needs can live a life full of opportunities and freedom never thought possible,” founder Betsy Farmer explains.
The saying “build it, and they will come” is never so true as at Promise.
Over 270 individuals applied to live on Promise, but so far there’s only room for a little over 120.
Promise’s first business, a thrift shop, has been open for about a year and in its first month they had over 1500 customers. Six “Promisers” with disabilities are working at the Promise Thrift Shop.
The property will be more like a walkable community with a cafe and bakery, doggy daycare, Field of Dreams accessible sports complex, skate park, splash pad, festival area, bed and breakfast, accessible playground, and equestrian riding center.
All of this was made possible by more than 200 major supporters, and continuous fundraising events.
All of Promise’s businesses will provide vocational training and employment for its residents with disabilities.
Ten college students from area universities will serve as housing assistants, so that residents get the support they need to live independently.
Betsy hopes Promise can become a model for other communities across the nation. There is a definite need to get our loved ones with disabilities out of institutions and nursing homes, and into a promising future.
If you’re interested in learning more about Promise of Brevard, or would like to donate head here.