Our Story — Earl, Alice, and Evan
CWTC Consumer Family
Our son, Evan, is 39 years old and has a very animated personality. He loves going to rock concerts, wrestling, the Chicago Cubs, and competing in Special Olympics events like basketball and bowling. Born with Down Syndrome, Evan, lived at home under our direct care until October 1, 2018. As we’ve gotten older, supporting Evan in reaching a level of independent living became more and more urgent. So, when Tom Worrell contacted us about a vacancy at Twin Oaks Community Living in Pekin, we were eager to see how they could set Evan on the pathway to reaching some level of independence.
“The staff at Twin Oaks has always been there for support and fun. I like the food. I really like my room and have a new refrigerator. I like keeping it clean,” Evan said. “I knew many of the consumers from working at TCRC and that was nice. Megan is always good to me and keeps me safe.”
The stability and support of the staffing team was an immediate encouragement for all of us. The Twin Oaks team makes sure Evan is safe and supports him by managing his daily schedule and programming, like making a shopping list — a process that includes asking him to check what he needs — and keeping him physically active with walks. The Twin Oaks staff creates a family-like environment for all residents. They kid each other a lot and go out on community trips like Fourth of July fireworks. They manage Evan’s healthcare with doctor and dental care visits — all with Evan’s input and without our active involvement.
Because of the support of the Twin Oaks team, we’re proud to say Evan has achieved the self-reliance he’s always wanted. He’s taken on all-new responsibilities at Twin Oaks that have paved his path to independence, including watering the plants, cleaning up after meals, and keeping his room clean and organized. He does his own laundry on the weekends when he comes home to visit, telling us, “I can do it.” He also now sports the “modern mullet” after years of us overruling it on haircut day. He carries his own keys — something we could never get him to do. Staff members have even told us what a joy he is with staffers’ children, nicknaming him the “baby whisperer.” We’re overjoyed to hear he’s regarded by everyone at Twin Oaks as a wonderful addition to the family — and a friend.
Evan’s independence and well-being are no longer worries thanks to the care and support from CWTC. We know he is safe and happy there no matter where we are. From Day 1, he is always happy to return to Twin Oaks after a weekend stay with us. Sometimes, we can’t get him to spend the night for church services on Sunday. We go back and pick him up on Sunday. In fact, during the initial COVID-19 outbreak in March 2020, we kept him home for what we thought would be two weeks — it turned out to be two-and-a-half months. Throughout that early period of the pandemic, Evan couldn’t wait to get back to Twin Oaks. He asked every two weeks if he could go back yet.
That desire to return speaks to the incredible impact CTWC has had not just in Evan’s life, but our entire family’s as well. We’re all so grateful for the care and support they’ve provided for him and the difference they’ve made in his growth and development.