Volunteering at Esperanza: A Night at Natoli House – by Rebecca Smith
On July 19, the Esperanza Resource Development Committee visited the residents of the Natoli house and had a wonderful evening eating pizza and playing board games. We were greeted by Edward and Benjamin and their customary showings of excitement. Following closely behind, with the biggest smile, was Adam. Within minutes, Edward, Benjamin and Adam eagerly gave us a tour of the house. The upstairs is a full living quarters. The living room has Wii and other games for the residents. The bedrooms have the personal touches of each individual resident. For example, Benjamin proudly shows off his love of music with “The Beatles” on a sign outside his door.
The main level is where all the action takes place and that evening was no exception. Mary Pat and Jay, Michael’s parents, were there for their usual Thursday visit and talked to all of us as we came through the house. Michael spent his time watching TV and visiting with his parents. As Mary Pat and Jay were leaving, Mary Pat mentioned that by this time of the week she is just dying to see her “boys”, living up to her title as house mom. In the front of the house is a desk and table and on that desk a few of us noticed a fairly large pile of very creative cartoon drawings. We asked Edward who created those cartoons and it turns out that his brother, Alex, is quite the cartoonist. Alex came out and said hello to everyone. He was a bit more reserved than his brothers, Edward and Benjamin, but seemed happy to have the guests, food and games. Edward spent the evening bouncing around, talking to everyone. He loves his trips to Target and asked us all lots of questions. Benjamin was similarly bouncing around and his main focus was the release of his second CD that upcoming Saturday. He was excited about the release and acting quite the salesman. Adam, who has difficulty hearing and speaking, was showing everyone his new communication device that he had secured to his belt. Halfway through the evening, Paul came home. He introduced himself to each of us and told us about his day. He was hungry and made his way to the back for some pizza. Yahtzee was being played in the back room and Bingo in the front. Getting to know and interact with these amazing guys was a great deal of fun for everyone.
– Rebecca Smith, Junior Board Member
See the rest of the photos from the evening here!