There is a new community in Waxahachie called Daymark Living and it wants to be known for its resort-style living, “that just so happens to have people with IDD [Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities] living here and a wonderful staff that understands that population and is here to help them gain independence and happiness,” said developer John Poston.
It was John’s son, Michael, who was born with Down syndrome, who inspired the project after Michael’s twin sister grew up and went off to college, leaving Michael behind.
“I was thinking, ‘well that’s not fair. He needs to go, you know, live a similar life to his siblings. And so, looking out there, there was no place for him to go,” John said.
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So Daymark Living was created to fill that need.
The cottages and shared living spaces provide a sense of independence, with classes onsite, transportation to work or school, and a full-time staff to support its residents.
“I feel like I’m going to college, just living the college life like other people,” Michael said.
Michael said he’s excited about getting to live alongside his peers, but it’ll be a transition for his mom.
“It’s going to be an adjustment for me. I’ll come visit him,” said Wendy Payne, Michael’s mom, to which he reacted with a joyful “yay!”
She said if it wasn’t for Daymark Living, Michael would have lived with his parents forever. But now, just getting ready to move out on his own has changed him.
“He already seems so much more independent and happy and excited,” Wendy said as both she and Michael smiled. “I think he’s ready.”
Along with the resident therapy dog, Yoshi, Michael and others will move into their new space this September.
“It’s going to be hard to let go because I love having him at home. He’s my little partner, but as much as I love that I gotta let him go live his life,” Wendy said.
And because of Daymark, he has a safe and loving place to do just that: to live just like anyone else his age.
Daymark Living is a for-profit business model, and John Poston is hoping more of these communities will be built in other cities as well.