Coffee Kindness & Community:  The Glennon Family Loves Being Part of the Jericho Family

Our family first heard about Jericho when our son Mason, who has autism, was struggling at school as a teenager.  Another autism mom urged emphatically, “You gotta call Linda at Jericho!”  So I did, and WOW did that change our world.  Linda’s advocacy, empathy and spreadsheet skills (among her many other talents) helped our family beyond words.  Her energy, perspective and determination are inspirational.  We are honored and grateful to have her as our lifelong friend.

But it’s not just Linda–it’s the entire Jericho team!  The first day I went to meet with Linda at the cozy Jericho house, I was nervous, until I was greeted warmly by Sister Joan and Dean, who gave me hot coffee and warm, homemade pumpkin bread!  Of course Linda was running late, she was helping another family in need–per usual!) but she calmly got me on track and eventually Mason gained the more intense structure and help he needed at the time.  

Other families have mentioned this in their incredible stories, but it bears repeating.  I cannot believe how rewarding/affirming/lifesaving it is for our entire family to have an affordable, accessible place to go where Mason is not just tolerated but welcomed–with open arms and funny jokes and gluten free cookies and requests to dance!  Who wouldn’t appreciate that–but especially if you are someone with different abilities in an often judgmental world.  Mason absolutely loves all the dances, holiday and pool parties (he even rescued some frogs who crashed a pool party last summer).  He remembers everyone’s names and something about them, and is thrilled to reconnect every time.  He is ESPECIALLY looking forward to the Saint Patrick’s Day parade float this year with his friends from Jericho.  We love how we are able to find out about other outings in Western MA from the outgoing, active group of adults and their families and/or caregivers at these events.  Mason is an energetic, friendly guy who always wants to be outside–it’s great to find like-minded peers!

Mason’s younger brothers, Devon and Colin, have both volunteered at Sensitive Santa, the golf tournaments and donated their time and skills whenever their busy schedules allow. Devon is actively involved with the Boltwood Project as a student at UMass and also has his own soap company–he has donated his products for Jericho events and is always happy to do so. Colin and Devon also both work as Social Skills Mentors for a local speech therapist. Their views as siblings as well as peers have been crucial to not only our family’s but our greater community’s understanding of Mason’s needs, and they have both spoken as panelists describing the sibling experience at multiple venues.  They especially appreciate the true understanding and empathy from everyone who works at Jericho, and from the community that Jericho helps build.  From the beginning, these three brothers have had a tight, protective bond, sometimes tested of course, but the understanding and support they feel from the Jericho community is invaluable. The entire family appreciates and is inspired by the tireless efforts of the folks in the Jericho community.

We also look forward to the parent support nights and the volunteer envelope stuffing extravaganzas–where we solve the world’s problems, laugh, cry and share recipes. The “youngest” person I know, my fabulous, Energizer Bunny, 95 year old mother, Betty, often comes along.  She loves the social outing and “being useful” as she puts it–Linda, Sharyn, and Sister Joan always make sure she is welcome, has a seat at the table and a yummy snack.  The volunteers are tremendous about including and welcoming her, and it is heartwarming to experience.  And by the way, she still plays piano gigs–knows all the military themes, World War II songs–you name it!  She plays by ear and is happy to donate her talents anytime.

Lastly, one thing I sometimes lost sight of during the early years of advocating for Mason was the lifelong adventure he would have navigating this world. Jericho makes me feel so much better since I know his siblings and folks connected to Jericho will keep this crucial network of caring friends thriving.  We try to support Jericho in every way we can, and so appreciate all the wonderful folks in the Jericho universe who do as well.  This pandemic has made us all feel an ounce of what isolation the ones we love with special needs must feel pretty often in some way or another.  If we don’t know you yet, we’d like to.  Let’s keep this oasis going, together!  Thanks to everyone connected with Jericho for all you do.  See you at the next parade/dance/Jericho gathering!

Click This Link To Watch a Short Video about the Glennon Family!