By Melissa Russell, Waltham News Tribune, May 10, 2018
Brian Higgins can’t say enough good things about Jesse Farren-James. Thanks to her, he said, the house on Ellison Park where he and his four housemates live is safe, he has his own key, and “it hasn’t been robbed once.”
“Thanks a lot,” Farren-James says in response, laughing. “We haven’t been robbed, at least!”
Higgins and the other men who live with him have intellectual or developmental disabilities, and Farren-James is their support professional. The house is run by the organization Work, Community, Independence, which operates about 50 homes, primarily in Waltham, Massachusetts, providing support for people with a wide range of physical and sensory disabilities, and autism and acquired brain injury, which helps them to live meaningfully in their communities.
Lucian Archambault, director of quality assurance for WCI, said individuals are matched with homes based on their needs, interests and temperament. Some are more independent than others. The Ellison Park house, home to Higgins, Aditya Kadambi, Ronnie Thebado, Charlie Durkee and Frank Bazie, provides 24 hours of support every day of the week.
Bazie works at Market Basket, Durkee works at a day rehabilitation center in Woburn, and Thebado, Kadambi and Higgins do supervised work and volunteer in the community. At the end of the day, they come home to Farren-James, their direct service provider, who has been with WCI for more than a decade. She recently was honored with the 2018 ANCOR Direct Support Professional of the Year award.