A Group Home Picnic – 2

“As you have done it unto the least of my brethren, ye have done it unto me”.  Matthew 25:40.

Last year I wrote about the wonderful group home picnic that PJ and I had attended. The picnic is an annual event held by Bennett Care Homes. Reverend Germany Bennett and his wife, Kimberly Bennett run a number of group homes and PJ has been a resident of one of the homes for the past few months. They really fulfill the PJ Foundation guiding scripture  with which I began this post.

This year, the picnic was in the same location, but was even better than last year’s picnic.  We had wonderful food; hot dogs, hamburgers, bar-be-cued ribs, macaroni, potato salad, corn and green beans.  There was soda pop and ice cream. PJ was only interested in soda and hamburgers, but his mom enjoyed the full menu.

The Bennetts had a children’s petting zoo with lambs, goats, chickens and  turkeys. There was even an alpaca (which I thought was a llama until I asked). Young children in the neighborhood were invited to enter the yard and pet the animals. This is a picnic for neighborhood residents, as well as group home residents, so all are invited.  The children really enjoyed the petting zoo, but PJ was not greatly interested in the small animals, though I tried to interest him.   There was also a trampoline and one of the bouncy houses to keep  young children entertained.

PJ was interested in the horse, though.  The Bennetts even provided  horseback rides. There was the calmest, most beautiful horse whose owner was giving horseback rides to everyone; old and young, disabled and able-bodied alike.  PJ rode the horse and I took pictures. (If I were more computer literate, I would include the pictures in this post, but it’s all I can do to write the blog). Seeing the small animals and the horse in the middle of the city of Detroit was a special treat provided to us by the special people who care about our special people.

Once again, there was a  great band and a disc jockey who kept us entertained.  We even managed to get PJ to sing (sort of). He sings with his sister, Stephanie, and he really has a great voice. He cannot sing most  words, but the melody is clear and correct. When he wants to sing , he does a great job, but he  did not put forth the effort that he is capable of at the picnic. With him, you never know what you might get.

When I was active in the Wayne County Chapter of the Autism Society of Michigan, we had PJ scheduled to sing with his sister at one of our events. My thought was that since the event was all about autism, that whatever PJ did would be  acceptable. When PJ and his sister took the stage to sing, PJ turned his back to the audience and to the microphone, so you couldn’t really hear him. That’s the reason that I never really pushed his singing.  He is not interested in fortune or fame, so he only sings when he feels like it and he only sings the part of the song that he likes. No singing on cue for PJ.

I am so thankful for people like the Bennetts. Parents can not do it alone, especially parents my age. That is why we formed the PJ Foundation, to offer parent support.  I am so proud of all you parents who deal with the daily challenges of raising a child handicapped by autism.

“And let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap if  we faint not”. Galatians 6:9.

Until next time; May you have Peace, Love and Prosperity in your life.

Claudreen Jackson


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