It began with a mother’s dream.
This year, Breckenridge Village of Tyler is celebrating 15 years of caring for adults with mild to moderate intellectual or developmental disabilities.
The organization started with the tenacity of Jean Breckenridge, said Linda Taylor, the organization’s director of development.
“She was an incredible lady,” Ms. Taylor said. “She was passionate about these special people until she died (in February).”
Jean and her husband, Robert, taught children with developmental disabilities. When their son, Jimmy, was born with a developmental disability that would prevent him from ever being able to live on his own, the Breckenridges thought about plans for his future once they were no longer able to care for him. They also began to think about other families facing the same dilemma.
“She used to say, ‘I would go to bed every night and wake up every morning wondering, ‘If something happened to me, what would happen to Jimmy?’” Ms. Taylor recalled.
The Breckenridges purchased 70 acres near their home in Tyler to serve as the site of what is now Breckenridge Village of Tyler. Built by the Texas Baptist Men, the campus has six cottage-style homes, in addition to a chapel, greenhouse, swimming pool, fishing pier, health center and activity centers. The campus has about 40 residents who have their own rooms in the cottages, and about 10 more attend the day program.
While some residents’ families pay tuition, government support and scholarships also are available.
“It’s hard to express the relief we felt when we realized how good this was going to be for Brian,” said Robin Insalaco, whose 34-year-old son stays at Breckenridge on weekdays. “He’s grown in ways we couldn’t have imagined.”
Many of the staff members who join Breckenridge say when they started, they thought they would be ministering to the residents, but it is oftentimes the other way around.
“During the day, you never know when they’re going to say something profound,” said Marque Robinson, program group leader, who comes up with activities for residents. “They show us the presence of God. I never thought I’d be so blessed.”