My Friend Gennette
“I like to call her Momma G,” Kelly says with a big smile. “She’s not really my momma, but she’s like one. I can always count on her to be there if I have a problem.”
Kelly is talking about her friend, Gennette, the Family Living Director at her Bello Machre home in Severn, Maryland. Gennette responds, “Living in this home with Kelly and the other two ladies gives me an opportunity to make a difference. I think and hope I’ve had a positive influence on Kelly’s life. I try to be a calming presence that helps her cope with her anxiety. But, most of all we’re just friends.”
Kelly is 29 years old and full of life. She was born with mild intellectual disabilities and struggles with an anxiety and stress disorder. Fitting in and coping with people has always been hard. Kelly explains, “I want to be like everybody else. I just need some help.”
Kelly started to receive this help six years ago, and when she came to live at Bello Machre it wasn’t always easy. But new friendships eventually opened up a whole new world. “Now I do so many things I used to be afraid of — just wait, I’ll show you!”
She bounds up the stairs and quickly returns with a handful of Special Olympic medals. “I won four this year!” she exclaims as she proudly displays them.
Just a few years ago, Kelly was afraid of the water. But patience and constant encouragement from caring staff helped her conquer her fears. “I love the water now, and I get so excited when I jump in. I get goose bumps!” Through patience, love, and friendship, the possibilities are endless for Kelly.