In the News

The following was first reported in “Around Charlestown” by Ruth Ann Bartholomew, Life & Times Section, Record-Courier newspaper (http://www.recordpub.com/), Kent, Ohio,  January 24, 2012.  Charlestown  is one of the eighteen townships of Portage County, Ohio (near Kent). 

Let me tell you about an extraordinary Charlestown couple. Chris and Janeen Webb moved into the township in 1992 with their two young daughters.   Christen, 25, is a graduate of Walsh College and is a teacher in North Canton. Lindsey, 27, who is a Tallmadge High School graduate, has worked at Noah's Ark Child Care for the past seven years and has developmental disabilities. Chris and Janeen volunteered their musical talents to their church, Charlestown United Methodist, as choir director and pianists for 13 years.  Janeen is the founding member of the Charlestown Activity Committee that organizes the township activities.  
 
We all know that parents never quit worrying about their children's future, however, Chris and Janeen were especially concerned that Lindsey would be able to live as independently as possible.

After researching all the living options available, they decided that none were right for Lindsey. They envisioned a life that would balance her independence with the structure and guidance she needed. This is where the extraordinary part comes in.

After years of research and planning, Chris, who quit his job as chief financial officer at Tarkett, and Janeen, a retired music teacher, decided that they would create the perfect living arrangement for Lindsey. But they didn't stop there. They wanted to offer the opportunity to other young adults with similar barriers. And so, in January 2010, Pathway to Independence at Stow-Glen was born.

Utilizing Stow-Glen's vacant independent living apartments, each young adult has their own kitchenette/dining/living space, bedroom and bathroom. Some of the criteria for applicants is that they must have part- or full-time employment.  

They eat two meals a day in the dining room with the older residents and help them with some chores. They do their own laundry; are taken on weekly grocery shopping trips, and enjoy many fun activities as a group, such as a Super Bowl party.  

Ranging in age from 23 to 34, the 10th young adult will arrive in February.  Working from a waiting list, they accept residents one at a time as it takes about three months to acclimate them to the routine. At this time, they have the capacity for 14 residents. Two employees ensure that they have 24-hour support.

At first, Janeen and Chris lived at Stow-Glen full time but since adding the live-in assistants they have been able to return home. This is their full-time job. They do all the administration, coordinating, organizing, field trips, activities and more. They are second parents, counselors and referees and they strive every day to ensure that each young adult is safe, happy and living as independently as possible. 

At no profit to themselves, they bring peace of mind to the parents of the other young adults not just for Lindsey. In my eyes this makes them extraordinary! May God bless you, Chris and Janeen!