His upbeat and positive attitude inspires everyone around him. And Jesse displays a “thumbs up” in almost every photo he appears in. Here’s how the Rose House’s “goodest guy,” as he’s known by friends and family, beat the odds to find the most suitable forever home for his unique needs.
As with any parent of a kid with developmental disabilities, finding a proper home setting took tremendous patience and involved a lot of emotion. On the advice of Jesse’s special needs attorney and advocate, Jesse entered the DDD (Division of Developmental Disabilities) “system” at age 3, but it wasn’t until age 20 when a first opportunity for a group home finally became available.
Although that first group home setting wasn’t ideal, Jesse’s mom and dad understood that if they didn’t accept the placement, Jesse would move way back down the priority list. So, after much soul searching, they followed their attorney’s advice.
And as their attorney had promised them, “things” would indeed get better.
In 2011, Jesse’s parents met with Rose House Founder Mark Kramer, who found them a placement in the Independent Living Program at the Hanover Apartments in Cedar Knolls, NJ. Jesse lived there happily for years until he eventually moved to the Alison House nearby with housemates even more suited for him.
Jesse now lives in the new Glencove Group Home in Morris Plains, NJ, which is a nearly perfect setting as his three new housemates share similar personalities and abilities with him. The Glencove Group Home enables Jesse to help prepare meals, load the dishwasher, exercise in his home gym and go for walks in the beautiful neighborhood.
“Rose House has made all the difference in the world,” said his mother Louise. “Jesse has become family and is friendly with everyone. From day one, he had felt like it was his home away from home, and the transition to Glencove was easy because he was familiar with the staff.”
Jesse’s naturally mechanical mind and need for order is also perfect for his job at GreenVision, a program where individuals with Autism properly dismantle and recycle unwanted electronics. “Jesse can take apart a laptop computer in a matter of minutes,” his father Teddy explained. “He puts all the little pieces of copper and silver and screws into appropriate compartments. He does it standing up all day, never tires of it and he loves being there. They tell us that he’s one of the most highly productive employees.”
Jesse’s two favorite hobbies (after eating) had been bowling and swimming but everything changed as of 2021. As a result of the COVID-19 lockdown and a need to find some fresh new activities to keep Jesse stimulated, his parents and Jesse discovered Legos. Looking at the 100+ page instruction manuals, there was a concern that the Lego models would be too difficult. But much to everyone’s surprise, the complicated drawings were exactly what allowed Jesse to master it. He relates to the diagrams, and the lack of words is right up his alley. To date, he has built over 30 models, many of which require over 4,000 puzzle parts and take weeks to complete.
Louise, Teddy and Jesse’s step-father Frank are big supporters of Rose House’s annual “Day of Dreams” golf event each year. Louise volunteers throughout the event, signing in golfers all morning and then selling raffle tickets during the luncheon. Frank and Teddy are also instrumental in the event’s success as they recruit many foursomes from the Upper Montclair Country Club.