Carol Moore has been serving as a Host Home Provider (HHP) for decades and considers it her calling – but she didn’t always know it. Following another career path led her to an unexpected destination and an open door – through which she chose to walk.
Her previous career was all about driving – from gigantic earth-moving equipment to school buses, to county-owned, fleet vehicles. While working as a substitute school bus driver, Carol was given the additional responsibility of regularly driving children from Glenwood Springs to Rifle, Colorado to participate in classes associated with the Headstart program. Carol would wait while the students were in school then drive them back home. One day while she was waiting, she visited an adult vocational facility located on the same property, at which gardening and weaving skills were being taught to Individuals challenged with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD). Strongly drawn to these Individuals, she continued to visit and got to know many of those involved, both as participants and facilitators of the programs. Eventually, she was asked to become a Host Home Provider.
She immediately started to think about how best to work with these special Individuals and discovered that her own experiences provided her with unique insight into their needs. As a child she’d been in foster care, understood the value of having the long-term support of her foster mother, and recognized that her history with foster care had cultivated her ability to relate to these Individuals. Her husband discouraged her from taking this new path. But she felt drawn to this work and a year later, left her husband and moved to the Denver area.
Carol loves people in general, but especially those with special needs. Of herself she says, “I am in service to them. Sometimes I have to say ‘no’ to them but I don’t like to. I feel in my heart that they are angels from heaven. I can feel their spirit of joy.”
Carol shared that she is very independent, likes who she is, and that even though she’s experienced a lot of turmoil in her life, is blessed with divine assistance – and believes that “we can do what we have to do.” She describes it as living her life with lily pads in front of her – she can put out her foot and there’s a place to step.
Many IDD Individuals have shared Carol’s home. She is especially talented at working with Individuals who have significant behavioral issues – especially those who are combative – and has some extraordinary success stories. She commented, “I like these guys. I’m not afraid of them.”
Tracy, a woman who lives with her, is in Carol’s home for the third time. Very combative at first, she now shows no signs of it. Carol sees evidence of real change in that their three miniature schnauzers – who are a big part of the family – no longer run from her, as had been the case in the past. Carol is delighted to see this transformation demonstrated in her love of and interest in the dogs as she sits and plays with them every night.
Carol shared that Mark, the other Individual living with her, was initially highly combative. But she felt attached to him immediately. Apparently he sensed that connection and has never raised his hand to her. He’s been with her for more than 20 years and leads a productive life, including participation in Special Olympics. He loves music and enjoys Carol’s talents which include playing accordion, organ and piano. Of Mark, Carol says, “I am blessed to have him here. We really get along – he is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I’ve never lived with a nicer person – he’s really made a difference in my life.”
Carol has created a legacy. Some of her children have served as Host Home Providers and her 26 year-old granddaughter is a HHP now. But she considers her special Individuals her most immediate family. She says she used to wonder why God didn’t give her a special needs child. Little did she know what was in her future.
Evergreen Service Providers is greatly appreciative of the unwavering dedication Carol demonstrates for the Individuals who share her home, and the meticulous detail she provides in her work. Carol comes across as really having her act together – in thought, perception, attitude and practice. And it is obvious she loves what she does. The Individuals who share her home must surely draw great strength and confidence from her.
Carol will tell you that her lily pads led her to this calling – one to which she has dedicated her life. As we ended our interview, Carol commented, “Tracy is here now – I have to read her a story.”