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Why Families Like the Gibbs Family Put the Heart in Giving

Our families put the heart in giving so for #GivingTuesday this year we are shining a light on a few of the families who make up our extended Search family tree. They are truly near and dear!

Meet the Gibbs family, one of our #GivingTuesday 2021 family ambassadors. Our team was able to chat with Melissa, her father, Dan, and her brother, Josh, to hear more about their Search story.

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It was summer 2019 and Melissa was looking to move to be closer to her family. Her stepmother did research and found out about Search. After touring Search’s New England house, Melissa and her family knew it was a perfect fit. Two years later, Josh still thinks the home’s location is great. He says, “New England is in the city and close to us which allows her to come home for the holidays, and be around all of the time.”

Melissa is now able to spend much more time with her family, something she truly enjoys. Melissa loves her dad and brother, but when it comes down to which of her family members gets most of her attention, it has to be her 10 month old nephew, Dean. Melissa has been babysitting him weekly for the past six months. She loves spending time with him and taking care of him. From all appearances, the feeling is mutual! When she is at her brother’s house, where ever Melissa is, you will surely find Dean.

At Search, one of Melissa’s favorite things to do is getting out into her local community. She loves to visit the library to get books for her nephew, and recently got her Divvy card so that she can start taking bike rides with her family. She’s very active – always beating her family on 10,000 steps through her Fitbit, her dad and brother shared. “Her access to the community has been big,” they say.

Melissa thinks being able to go out in the community is what sets Search apart. She says, “I like being able to explore the city more, go have a picnic – I am glad I am able to do more of that stuff. I have more freedom at Search. I feel more like an adult living at Search.”

Melissa says she likes all of the programs at Search, including Ignite. Ignite is a program of Search, offering small group settings co-located with a workplace readiness and training programs. At Ignite, Melissa and her peers learn self-management and personal development skills through classroom instruction, individual supports and community-based experiences.

Melissa says she likes Ignite because, “it gives me opportunities to get out in the public.”

Then, when COVID hit in March 2020, Melissa had to shelter in place with her housemates for months at a time. Thankfully, Melissa, her housemates and her family stayed healthy and well throughout the worst of the pandemic. Josh remembers, “There was a lot of hard work to keep everyone safe during COVID, and Search did a really good job maintaining a safe environment.”  Now that she’s been vaccinated and infection rates are ebbing, Melissa has been enjoying getting out more and reconnecting with family and friends.

When she’s not babysitting, biking and traveling, you can find Melissa in the kitchen. Melissa says, “I love to bake – carrot cake, muffins for my brother, banana bread, challah bread, and cookies.” Did we mention she knits too?  She’s a busy bee!

Her dad and brother feel that Melissa has been encouraged to keep growing while living at New England house. Of the staff, her family says, “Everyone seems very committed and positive, concerned about Melissa. There is a lot of support. Melissa lives a great version of her life with Search.”

The Gibbs family recently celebrated her two-year anniversary of being with Search at a bowling alley. Because of Melissa’s prior experience participating in Special Olympics bowling competitions, it was no surprise that she broke a 120.

The Gibbs family are another example of what makes Search families so special. Many thanks to the Gibbs for sharing their story with us!  We’re proud to be a part of your family!

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Now through midnight on November 30th, #GivingTuesday, your gift to Search will go farther. All donations of $200 or more will be matched with a $200 contribution from the Coleman Foundation.

Your gift will help support everyone served by Search to live great versions of their lives.

Our goal is to raise $20,000 by midnight November 30, #GivingTuesday. Will you help us reach our goal? A donation of any amount will have a real and lasting impact. Learn more about our Giving Tuesday campaign and donate here.

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