The oldest daughter of Dennis and Michele Elmers, Rebecca was born at 1987 in Wayne General Hospital after a normal pregnancy. During her delivery however, Rebecca couldn’t breathe. Within an hour of her birth, Rebecca was medevacked to St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center and placed on full life support. Rebecca survived, thanks to the grace of God and the skilled care of the St. Joseph’s NICU medical staff. It was their faith in God that the Elmers were able to overcome the fear and helplessness they initially felt. Rebecca was released after 18 days.
Over the next few years, Rebecca was seen by multiple specialists, she underwent open heart surgery at 18 months, began school at the age of two and learned to walk by the age of 5.
Rebecca will require life-long care and support due to Cerebral Palsy, epilepsy, and global developmental disabilities. Over the last 30 years, primarily the last 11 years, the family has had the privilege of becoming acquainted with the friends and families connected to Rebecca. It has been through this contact that the Elmers have gained a desire to reach out to each of their daughter’s friends affected by disabilities and support them in the future living needs.
The support programs operated by the state government do not provide adequate support for Rebecca and her peers until they are desperate, either due to age or the illness of parents or severe behavioral problems of the adult affected by disabilities. The state of New Jersey has more than 8,000 adults affected by disabilities currently awaiting housing. Sadly, Rebecca and many of her friends don’t even qualify for these State wait lists.
We believe we are here to provide a more secure and positive future for Rebecca and her friends. This residential home will house men and women affected by disabilities. The Homestead will become the residence and training facility for developmentally disabled adults who will contribute to the daily operations of the farm. The solution lies in the continued training and support for this special target audience. Their pride of ownership in living in and operating the Homestead as a self-sufficient lifestyle through hospitality and farming will help to provide peace of mind for their family’s as well.
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