Megan’s Story

Megan Jewell has found her home at Jacob’s Village. Megan is blind, has brain damage, and needs around-the-clock care as a result of a severe infection that she contracted when she was 28 days old. Since that time, Megan’s mother, Holli Jewell-Bame, has pushed to provide Megan with the best of quality of life possible. Megan moved to Jacob’s Village about two years ago when Holli discovered the home-like atmosphere and the opportunities for growth at Jacob’s Village. Holly was impressed by how beautiful the houses are, and she noticed that the staff treats the clients like Jacobs Village is truly their home by giving them choices. On her first visit she could see that Jacob’s Village was “the perfect fit for Megan.”

Holli’s goal was to help Megan become more independent. She knew that it was crucial for her 25-year-old daughter to have her own home and meaningful relationships outside of the close bond that the two of them share. Holli feels that Megan needs the security of a loving, trusting community. Because in the back of her mind, Holli knows that she can’t always be there for Megan: “If it’s just Megan and I, and something happens to me, what happens to her?”

At Jacob’s Village Megan has achieved a level of independence far beyond what her family had imagined, Holli says. For example, previously Megan spoke primarily to Holli and usually just repeated what Holli said. Now Megan states her own opinions, makes her own choices, and engages in conversations with her Jacob’s Village friends.

“It’s her home, it’s her life,” Holli says. “She’s not afraid to express what she wants.”

Megan is the youngest of the four women who live in her home. Her housemates are like family and she has developed meaningful friendships with them as well as others in the community. She has a best friend named Heather. Kelsey, a friend who attended Castle High School with Megan, lives in another house at Jacob’s Village. Megan is always thrilled when Kelsey comes over to Megan’s house to read to her.

Megan especially enjoys that she is free to make choices, whether it’s what she wants to do or what she wants to eat for dinner. For example if others are coloring and she doesn’t feel like coloring she can choose to listen to her music in her room, which is her favorite activity. She has gathered a collection of more than 200 music CDs. Megan also loves to participate in devotions that are led by the Jacob’s Village staff each weekday morning before she goes to The Arc Training Center. She is especially fond of Tuesday night bingo games and special events such as the Fall Hayride and Picnic. Holli often volunteers at such events and thoroughly enjoys getting to know Megan’s friends. She has become an important member of the Jacob’s Village community herself.

In addition, Holli and Megan have worked together to introduce Megan’s friends at Jacob’s Village to the Warrick County Special Olympics. Megan has enjoyed the Special Olympics bowling and corn toss events for several years and now some of her Jacob’s Village friends do too.

Holli believes that one of the most important changes is that Megan is happy to return to Jacob’s Village after visits to her family in Newburgh, Indiana. In contrast, Megan would become physically ill and be distressed for days when Holli took Megan back to other residences where she has lived. At Jacob’s Village Megan is comfortable when Holli leaves. As a result, Holli is comfortable too, and that has opened up new opportunities that many families take for granted. For example, Holli now has no qualms about visiting Megan’s two brothers at the universities they attend, because she knows that Megan feels loved in her own home at Jacob’s Village while Holli is away. It has changed their family dynamics dramatically.

“My family sees the ease in me and in my spirit,” Holli says. “I go to bed at night with total peace of mind now. For years I never had that.”

“They love Megan out there and she loves them,” Holli adds.  “It’s her home.”