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There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays!

There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays!

December 20, 2023

NJCDC is always pleased when we can provide housing and support services for people in need. But we're especially pleased when we can give someone a new home just in time for the holidays—as is the case this week for Timothy Royster, the newest resident at our Hawthorne Heights Apartments.

The week has been full of important milestones for Timothy— he not only celebrated his 21st birthday, he also moved into his first apartment at NJCDC's Hawthorne Heights residence. Now, he has a lot to celebrate for the upcoming holiday season! In his new apartment, he will get to live independently, enjoying his own space, finding peace and quiet, and learning important skills.

In 2008, NJCDC opened Hawthorne Heights, a Supervised Apartment Program licensed by the New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities. The residence is a supportive living environment for adults like Timothy, who are ready and able to live independently, but still need support sometimes. Each of the 13 one-bedroom apartments gives residents their own personal space, with a private living room, kitchen, and bathroom. Hawthorne Heights residents gain independence by managing their own apartments, with NJCDC staff on-site to provide assistance as needed. The building also has a common room and backyard area where residents can socialize, and there are community social activities throughout the year for residents to get to know each other.

Timothy is a senior at East Orange Campus High School, where he made the honor roll last year. His favorite subjects are math and science and he loves to learn, but his favorite part of school is getting to spend time with his friends. Outside of school, he plays many sports, including basketball and football. Like many high school students, his hobbies include playing video games, talking to his friends, and going to the movies. He also likes to spend time outdoors, going to the park, and he loves spending time with his grandparents.

When I first walked into my new apartment, I felt happy and excited. I felt welcomed here," said Timothy. Previously, he was living in a foster home, and he is excited that his new apartment gives him peace, quiet, and independence. His favorite room in the apartment is the living room, because it has a lot of space for him to hang out. He plans to spend time relaxing on the comfortable couch, watching TV, and doing his homework at the kitchen table. He's also excited about having his own kitchen, and looks forward to learning how to cook some of his favorite foods, like burgers and mac and cheese!

Mostly, Timothy is relieved about his new apartment. He faced a lot of barriers getting here, but he's proud of his newest accomplishment. "I came this far," he said. "I learned how to keep pushing.

Now that he's living alone, Timothy plans to get a job to start supporting himself, and he will continue working hard in high school. His biggest dream is to make it to college and make his parents proud of what he's accomplishing on his own. But for now, Timothy plans to take his time unpacking and relaxing in his new space.

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