Ben's story of growth
Ben’s Story of Growth

Ben smiling with family

Ben came to Easterseals UCP (ESUCP) when he was just 5 years old – he was born with a rare genetic mutation. ESUCP provided him with a team of caregivers to deliver respite services and help with community skill-building and personal care.

“Ben’s life has been shaped by the skills he developed because of Easterseals UCP,” says Vanessa, Ben’s mom. “We couldn’t have done it alone.”

Ben has gained confidence in his ability to communicate nonverbally through gestures and sounds, skills that he learned throughout the years of working with ESUCP caregivers. Ben has also grown in confidence in other areas of his life. One of his favorite activities is to be in the water. He enjoys walking on his own in the water which is something he can’t do on land and it gives him a sense of freedom.

Ben smiling

Ben’s family and his ESUCP caregivers developed an individualized service plan each year which gave them a chance to consider Ben’s wants, needs and goals for the future. “We had the support of qualified professionals at Easterseals UCP who knew how to help Ben and what he needed to thrive,” Vanessa says. This past year, Ben gained even more independence. He comfortably transitioned into an ESUCP Group Home in Charlotte, just 15 minutes away from his family’s house. Ben enjoys spending time with his housemates, lounging in the living room’s reclining chairs and watching TV. “After a visit with us at our house, Ben’s always ready to return to his own home,” Vanessa says. “It’s a good feeling to see he’s happy living independently from us.”

The process of finding the right group home for Ben required a lot of patience, research and perseverance. His family asked many questions and visited several group homes in the area. “In the end, it came down to a feeling,” Vanessa says. “What feels right for our child? What vibe do we get from the staff and residents? Will our child fit in here?”

“The relationships Ben and our family has built with Easterseals UCP staff have been the most crucial,” Vanessa continues. “They’ve helped us through rough times, providing support when we needed it. Most have stayed in our lives as they’ve moved to other positions within the organization. They check up on Ben often to see if he’s doing OK.”

We are thrilled to see Ben thriving and living his best life with Easterseals UCP. It is an honor to support him along his journey. If you would like to read more about Ben, Vanessa writes a series called “Parenting an Adult Child with Disabilities” on

Easterseals UCP’s group homes are nurturing environments for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and mental health challenges to form community and thrive in their everyday lives. Our homes are located in places in which people with shared experiences intentionally live together. While many group homes require residents to share rooms, Easterseals UCP’s adult group homes provide residents with their own rooms. Learn more about Easterseals UCP’s group homes and residential services.

Easterseals UCP is a trusted, compassionate partner providing exceptional disability and behavioral health services to help our neighbors live their best lives. Purpose, dedication and empathy drive our service delivery. Its diverse and inclusive 2,300-member team provides more than 9 million hours of meaningful support to 22,000 kids, adults and families in 11,000 home and community locations. Learn more at