Shared Guest Post by Kim S. Jarrett, staff writer for Rome News Tribune
Charles Schroeder and his wife are facing a decision that most parents don’t have to face — who will take care of their son, Corey, when they are gone?
Corey, 30, is developmentally disabled. Schroeder realizes he is not alone and there are other parents with the same concerns.
“So many people are going to need housing because they are going to outlive their caregivers,” he said.
In 2007, Schroeder helped form DIGS Inc. with a group of parents, caregivers and concerned citizens who want to ensure adults in the community with developmental disabilities “Develop Independence, Growth and Security.” He serves as president and treasurer of the nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation.
One of their goals is to build awareness about people with developmental disabilities.
“People like Cory are more like you than they are different,” Schroeder said. “Don’t get hung up on the differences.”
Three years ago, they broke ground on 2.7 donated acres in West Rome to build a personal care home. They have managed to raise about $130,000 of the $300,000 they may need to build the home.
The goal is to create a housing option that is permanent, Schroeder said. Renting a home or having someone open their home to host residents is not always permanent. And options for parents are further limited because of the closing of Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital.
The group has held fundraisers, including a recent one at Schroeder’s deli that raised $1,500.
Their biggest fundraiser happened by accident. The “Just As I Am” choir was formed four years ago to provide activities for those with developmental disabilities.
Churches began giving them love offerings. Since they formed, the choir has performed at more than 50 churches and several community events.
When asked when they wanted to have the house completed, Schroeder replied “yesterday.”
For more information on how you can become involved we invite you to discover DIGS ‘Ways to Give’ page.