Bachelor pad gives seven young men with down syndrome independence

EGGERTSVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) — On a typical Thursday morning, it’s pretty common to find all seven guys: David, Jared, Jeff, Patrick, Craig, William and Michael in the living room.

It’s when they divide up chores, plan schedules, and enjoy some good old fashioned goofing around.

“The favorite part of the house is definitely my friends,” said Craig Donatelli.

The seven friends moved in together three years ago and are like family. They eat together, clean together, and watch TV together.
It’s a peace of mind for their parents who pushed for the service for 5 years.

“It was all of our dreams to be able to get our guys together and to become more independent and as you look on the state list there’s over 12 thousand people on the list we thought we would never get them into a home and get them together,” said Carol Geis, Patrick’s mom.

The house is funded through the state, and each of the guys have their own budget.

“Each person has a certain amount of money that is allocated toward them, through their social security benefits, through their work,” said Geis.

The house is staffed 24 hours a day by Aspire of western New York. But the guys are hardly ever all there at the same time. They all have jobs and six of them even skate for SABAH.

“They really have their own things still going on and yet they’ve encouraged eachother to join the things that they all love doing,” said Geis.

Patrick’s mom says as she gets older, she worries about who will care her son in the future.

“Now watching him over the last close to three years has made me really feel secure in that, and I know it’s made other parents feel the same way,” said Geis.

Six of the seven men will be skating at the Spirited Athletes Bold at Heart annual ice show this Sunday at 2 p.m. at First Niagara Center.

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