If not for a dream…the Jessica & Friends Community story
Carl Sandberg once said, “Nothing happens unless first a dream.” On the evening of October 29, 1998 we witnessed the birth of a dream right in our own home! Let us take you back to March 22, 1981, when our third child, Jessica, was born into our home, joining two other siblings. Jessica had developmental delays, so at the age of 17 months, we took her to Johns Hopkins for a week of evaluations. At the end of that week we were given the devastating news that Jessica had severe intellectual disabilities and life for her would never be “normal.” At the time we were devastated, and wondered why this had happened to our precious Jessica. We found comfort in knowing that although God’s ways are not always understandable, we can always trust Him.
In the midst of our struggles, heartache, and sometimes almost overwhelming difficulties of parenting Jessica, God’s grace was evident, His faithfulness shown time and time again. Jessica became an important part of our family with everyone sacrificing and helping with her care. It was all worthwhile to see her smiling face, sweet temperament, and her love for life and her family.
Over the years we have asked God how He is going to use Jessica’s life to bring Him glory. God has given us many opportunities to encourage and help other families who have children with special needs. We realized as we were getting older, that we would not always be here to care for Jessica. As are many other parents who have special needs children, we were burdened for her future. Thus God gave us a dream to provide faith-based homes where adults with intellectual disabilities can sense the love of Christ through compassionate care and training and be given the opportunity to reach their God-given potential.
As we talked with various individuals across York County and beyond we discovered waiting lists of individuals for supports and services, and a faith-based provider would be welcomed by many families. So at that first meeting on October 29, 1998, where we shared our vision with an Advisory Committee, who eventually became our Board of Directors, our dream was embraced. At the stroke of 9:00 p.m. the name Jessica & Friends Community was adopted and the birth of our dream was realized.
God’s plans continue to be much larger than our dream. As we strive to meet the needs of many families in the community, our organization has grown around four pillars: residential homes, a caregiver ministry, home and community program, our Pathway Services day program, and a for-profit business (J&F Products). All of these pillars operate within a faith-based setting. God is doing above what we ever thought possible and has blessed us all beyond our dreams!
Peter and Paulette Teague, Co-Founders
By faith, we strive to fulfill and proclaim the good news of the gospel by providing services to families impacted by intellectual disabilities regardless of financial standing.
Provide faith-based services and supports for individuals and families with autism and intellectual disabilities. We seek to be a community which affirms the worth of all people, supports personal growth and wholeness, advocates for community and church inclusion, and provides opportunities for spiritual growth and service.
We value and affirm the inherent dignity, significance and worth of each person regardless of physical capability and intellectual function (Psalm 139:13-16).
13For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,