Monday, January 23, 2012

The Foundation Of Freedom To Live

30 years ago Mary Williams founded a company called New Start Homes. In 1982 while working as the RN Coordinator of a rehabilitation unit in Los Angeles Mary saw that there was a huge gap in the rehabilitation process of both the patients and families she was discharging from the hospital. Mary’s entrepreneurial spirit and passion in her work, drove her to quit her job and begin a company that could fill the needs and gaps in the system. Mary was successful, with her incredible determination and energy level and her spirit inside to persevere, Mary pioneered a unique independence program and became one of the biggest advocates for spinal cord injured individuals. Not only did Mary work side by side with Medi-Cal where she established a trusted relationship over 28 years, she helped write legislation in Sacramento, which broke down governmental and societal barriers; 
ensuring that every individual following a catastrophic injury or illness had the opportunity to take control of their own life, to live in the least restrictive environment and with an improved quality of life.

Mary established Freedom To Live Foundation in 1993 because there was another great need, affordable housing. Very small allowances for living made it almost impossible for her clients to find a place to live without help. Mary purchased homes she called “step down” homes and subsidized rents for her New Start clients moving out. However, with 24/7 work, 3 companies, 200 employees launching and building her foundation was not possible so she continued her focus on building her model program and used whatever resources she had available to help her FTL mission along.

After 28 years in business Mary sold New Start Homes to Care Meridian in October 2010. At 68 years old and after taking a long earned rest Mary and her daughter Sian set out to finally close the gap of affordable and accessible living for people like her New Start clients. Today, FTL is moving its first recipient into his own home near family in Oceanside California and FTL uses the 30 years of experience to oversee, coordinate and consult recipients to ensure long-term success of each recipient. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Incomprehensible Grace

Today was an amazing day again. I travel once per week on the train to LA and back. I'm on my way home and just coming down from all the exciting days events. My mom, Mary and I met with a person that can help us take FTL to the next level of where all of our dreams have been for this cause. God has plans, I am sure of this.  If you are reading this blog you probably have found our website. It went live 2 weeks ago. I haven't launched our website and today confirmed why, the mission is great and so is the planning. There is so much work to be done and my mom, I can hardly contain our excitement sometimes. This picture is from a meeting today, FTL's first recipients to move into independent living. Our first FTL recipients are talking with friends of FTL. It is a huge step to move from a 24/7 skilled nursing home into their own home. Pacien, 31 Duchenne MD, Janette, c-5 quad, FTL's independence trainer & Andrew Skinner, quadriplegic and founder of Triumph Foundation consult and share their experience and advise. The best thing about today was just being a part of this incredible group. I have seen people like this do so much with so little. The human spirt is amazing! At the end of the meeting I was so moved because each person shared their story and related to their journey in life.  I wish I could have recorded the meeting today, if we could see grace, hope and love I would have posted that picture! God bless you and please continue to follow.
President, Executive Director FTL

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Welcome to Freedom To Live. We are so excited to launch our foundation in 2012. Please join with us to fill that HUGE gap that makes it possible for all spinal cord and other catastrophically disabled people to transition to living independently within their communities. We were blessed to receive a sizable donation last year that allowed FTL to lease its first FTL home!  Our first recipient will be moving from a Congregate (shared) Living Health Facility (CLHF) located in LA to our FTL home nestled in a quaint community located in Los Angles within the San Fernando Valley. Thanks for visiting our website and please watch the video and consider helping our mission.

Look forward to our Inaugural Golf Tournament happening Sept 24,2012 with guest star golfer Jeff Ogilvy.

Sian Welch
Executive Director, FTL