About the Stable Living Program™
Where and how did Stable Living emerge?
There are a few influences that sparked the Stable Living Program. First, I had an older sister who had Down Syndrome. She was a very high-functioning individual who lived somewhat independently, but was not always safe. I learned much from her successes and failures. The second and third influences are my younger sister and brother who were adopted by my parents. They are both developmentally challenged and when my mom passed away they became what we called “my inheritance.” Both of them have many abilities, and I found it hard to get others to focus on their abilities instead of their disabilities.
When my younger sister had completed her time with the school system, she had nothing to do and to be honest it drove me nuts that she would just sit around. So, around my work schedule, we started to volunteer in anything and everything we could in our small town of Newman, California. During one of her Individual Service Planning meetings, I shared with her Regional Case Representative that we needed a program that she could attend without being on a bus for 2 or more hours. The case worker said, “It seems like you have a good start at one already. Why don’t you write up a proposal and submit it?” My first thought was, “Not me…I meant someone else should start a program!” but then I am not one to think things cannot be done, so I discussed it with my husband and we began brainstorming what would be the dream program to have.
The name “Stable Living” came from that dream program discussion. What we saw as being the dream program was a sustainable farm village. One where individuals live in independent studio cottages working a sustainable farm that produces enough food for the individuals who live there and more to sell at farmers markets, CSA’s and maybe restaurants. Ideally, there is a commercial kitchen so we can make items to be sold and have a small restaurant where the clients are the cooks, servers and producers opened two or three days per week for lunch and maybe dinner. We could cater special events, specializing in seasonal farm fresh items. There would be a wood shop, sewing & craft areas, vehicle maintenance shop and more to give the individuals who attend the program opportunities to develop skills that they could use to get jobs, work and support themselves. This was and is the big dream, but we had limited resources and did not have any property.
So, with the limited resources at hand we decided to write up a proposal based on what we did have and allow God to do with the plan what he may. After many rewrites, the proposal turned into a program and in 2012 we started Stable Living.
Ken and I have put everything we have into this program and God has blessed it and us much more than we deserve. God led us through this process to refine us, teach us, humble us and expand our comfort zones. Stable Living has developed into Stable Living Group. There are two small program locations, one in Newman and one in Turlock, CA, where we teach; life skills, employability skills, friendship, problem solving, safety skills, independence and self-employment opportunities.
We currently have a wood shop, a sewing program, a jewelry program, crafts, a retail store, gardening, book publishing and puppy training. On top of that we still participate and volunteer in the community, teaching that it is better to give and help than to take and expect more.
I believe we are not done and we may never stop expanding and growing. God willing, soon we will begin working on Stable Grounds Coffee and more—a coffee and juice shop along with our retail store. We continue to dream and follow God’s direction in our lives and with the program and go where he opens the doors and leads us.