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“Welcome to the HeartShare family!” said Linda Tempel, Executive Director of Developmental Disabilities Services at the annual Residential Services Dinner Dance. Linda was referring to one of the agency’s newest group homes for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The Duran Residence in Midwood, Brooklyn is now home to four men with autism. One of those men is Justin. It’s not only easy to smile when you spend time with Justin, who is chatty and eager to share, but also because HeartShare group homes offer a family-like atmosphere and high quality of life to those who live there.
On a typical day, Justin returns home from his day habilitation program and enjoys his spacious bedroom. Looking out the window, Justin engages in people watching and talks about his passion — firefighting. Justin has an extensive collection of firefighter t-shirts, which he frequently wears.
Justin also has befriended firefighters at a local firehouse. Taking a walk with Amaris Ortiz, who manages several HeartShare residences, Justin frequently stops by to say hello and the uniformed team welcomes his company.
Justin speaks of his love for the Rangers and his favorite baseball player, Derek Jeter. He spends time with his family and often goes horseback riding with his father at Jamaica Bay Riding Academy. “We’re very happy to have Justin at HeartShare. He has a second family there,” said Justin’s mother, Randy.