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Jes­sica & Friends Com­mun­ity is here for adult in­dividu­als with in­tel­lectu­al dis­abilit­ies and their famil­ies when help is needed most. Meet a few of our in­dividu­als and their famil­ies.

Ellen & Steven Hartman

Steven and Ellen needed a family who would love them unconditionally and the Hartman’s feeling called to adopt children seemed like a perfect match made from Heaven.  Steven came from a group home in New Jersey for special needs children. When Joan and Walter first met Steven, they noticed his ankles bent from being in a crib for long periods with no headroom. Steven was two years old at the time, and had difficulty walking and showing affection.

Ellen was born in December of 1974. She had several health issues including a hole in her heart. After being in the hospital for several weeks, Joan and Walter were able to bring Ellen home just before Christmas. Doctors did not have a positive outlook on Ellen’s future and advised the Hartman’s to take Ellen home, make her comfortable and wait for her to die. Determined to have a second opinion, the Hartman's took Ellen to another doctor and got the help their daughter needed. Ellen’s spirit and will to live is as strong today as when she was a baby.   

As Joan and Walter grew older, they recognized Steven and Ellen needed a place to live where they could be independent and in a faith-based setting for adults with intellectual disabilities.  Jessica & Friends Community was the answer to their prayers.  

Today, Ellen lives in our Sarah Kathryn Home, and Steven lives in our Tri-Hill home.  Both love their homes, their staff, and their housemates. You will find Ellen baking brownies with her staff and enjoying her independence.  Ellen just celebrated her 43th birthday in December. Steven works part-time at Jessica & Friends Community providing housekeeping services to the Support Center and celebrated his one-year service award this past fall. Steven is very social and engaging with staff. He enjoys earning money and spending some of it on nice clothes. He is an avid York Revolution fan and you can find him in the stands at home games.   

Joan pas­sed away over year ago, but was able to see both Ellen and Stev­en flourish­ing as adults. Walt­er is thank­ful to have Stev­en and Ellen at Jes­sica & Friends Com­mun­ity, which gives him peace of mind for the fu­ture of his childr­en. Both Stev­en and Ellen have an ac­tive schedule with their housemates. Week­ly they see their fami­ly at church and get togeth­er af­terwards for lunch. If you ask Stev­en and Ellen, they will tell you that they love being a part of Jes­sica & Friends Com­mun­ity and would not want to live an­yw­here else.

Meet Cindel Torres and her family

Juli and Victor Torres remember vividly the birth of their precious daughter, Cindel.  For the story is not about how Juli drove herself to the hospital, or about Victor getting a call at work to meet Juli at the hospital, only to find he arrived there before Juli did. None of that matters when you are looking at your tiny daughter in your hands only weighing 1-1/2 pounds and measuring 12” in length.   What you remember as a parent is the love you have for your child, and the blessing you just received from God.

After Cindel graduated from high school in 2006, Juli and Victor knew their daughter needed a day program to keep her active and learning. The Torres' tried different programs, but nothing seemed to fit Cindel's needs.  The Torres' heard about Jessica & Friends Community and contacted our Community Program Manager.  The staff of Jessica & Friends began to care for Cindel in 2006.  In 2013, Juli became very ill and could not provide the care Cindel needed.  Jessica & Friends Community was there to increase our services to 24/7 giving Juli the time she needed to have her life saving surgery and recovery time. Cindel lives with her family and participates in our Community program five days a week.  Our staff meet Cindel at her house and together work on her goals and attend community activities.  Juli and Victor have peace of mind knowing Cindel is in good hands with her J&FC staff. They have seen her grow in so many ways through our program and daily see her leading a very active lifestyle. Cindel will tell you she enjoys getting dressed up, wearing make up and loves her independence.  She loves her family and adores her brother, Diego. She can speak fluent English and Spanish.  Juli and Victor are thankful they did not follow the suggestion of the doctors so many years ago and place Cindel in a group home for children with special needs.