~By Ashley Hankins
In September of 2019, Lighthouse welcomed a double dose of joy through its doors when James (Jimmy) and Jacob McMillin became a part of our program.
Jimmy improves his vocational skills in the Work Activity Center, and Jacob is a member of the Strengthening Pathways program. Their excitement about this new venture was matched by their peers as they became more familiar with the programs and began to make friends.
Now during this season of quarantine, both Jimmy and Jacob have adapted well to the online learning opportunities provided by Lighthouse staff. They participate in a book club with Ingrid and enjoy worship music with Nicole, which their mom, Michelle, says is the highlight of their day! They are thankful for the opportunity to see some of their staff and friends.
When the pair are not participating in remote classes, she shares that “Jimmy can be found playing video games with his brothers or on-line with friends. He enjoys listening to all genres of music and it’s rare to find him without headphones on!” He also likes to “keep a keen eye on everyone including the dogs” in typical big brother fashion and will inform them when something is wrong. He plays with the dogs often and especially enjoy cuddling with Sammie, their 15-year-old Italian Greyhound. Jimmy goes with the flow and will try new things very willingly.
Jimmy loves spending time with Sammie.
This was evident to us at Lighthouse as Jimmy began introducing himself and getting to know people from the moment he arrived, an infectious smile plastered across his face the entire time! Although he was new to the program, Jimmy displayed such a welcoming personality toward others, inviting his peers and staff alike to get to know him better. His friendly personality and sense of humor make him fun to work with on any job.
Jimmy doing one of his favorite things - playing video games.
Jacob spends his free time doing his favorite activity—shredding paper! According to his mom, Jacob is always asking his family and friends to supply him with their junk mail, old magazines, and flyers that would typically go straight into the trash. He is “old school” in that he “[enjoys watching] old cartoons such as Popeye, The Pink Panther, Bugs Bunny, and the like” as well as classic Disney movies. Cinderella, The Aristocats, Sword in the Stone, Jungle Book, Dumbo, Bambi and Lady and the Tramp are some of his favorites. Jacob prefers doing things he is used to and comfortable with. Connecting with his family and friends across the country is important to him. Thankfully video chatting and social media make that possible. Michelle commented that “Jacob is such a love and has one of loudest, most infectious belly laughs you will ever hear!”
Jacob gives a thumbs up!
His Program Specialist, Sharon Metzger, agrees. She said Jacob “comes in with a smile and a wave hello to everyone. Jacob also likes to point and laugh as a hello. No task is too hard, and he does excellent work. He enjoys the different activities we do such as cooking, crafts and music. Of course, lunch is also one of his favorite times. Jacob is friendly to his co-workers, giving them a smile and a thumbs up. It has been great having him in the Strengthening Pathways program and everyone looks forward to his smiles and his teasing.”
Jacob relaxing by the pool.
While these brothers are certainly unique in their individual personalities, one thing they each love is summer. The warm weather means they are able to spend time at their favorite place—the beach! The pool in their backyard is also a favorite way to stay cool and to catch up with their friends and family throughout the summer months. Though they may enjoy extra time in the water during this slower season of life, we cannot wait to see Jimmy and Jacob return to Lighthouse in person in a short while!
Jacob and Jimmy keeping cool at the beach!