Katie's House

A Home Built on Love

For Young Adults with Developmental Disabilities


P.O. BOX 96 Newton, NJ 07860     Phone:973-383-3221     Email: Evelyn@KatiesHouse.org

 

History

Katie’s House founded in 2001

Katie's' parents, Evelyn and Conrad Dudziec, do it their way. After many visits to group homes and sheltered workshops for adults with intellectual disabilities, they decided that was not what they wanted for Katie's' future. In New Jersey, it is common practice to have young adults placed in homes or sheltered workshops with adults in their 50's or high functioning adults placed with lower functioning adults. This leaves nothing in common for continued growth and happiness. Friendships cannot develop when you have nothing in common.

Katie's parents believed that this practice of warehousing the disabled should no longer be tolerated and dreamed of a Home Built On Love and a Center where Katie would be with others of the same age and abilities.

After the Incorporation of Katie's House, they applied for a non profit 501 C3 status and then started to raise funds to purchase a house.



Evelyn & Conrad Dudziec
Bio: Evelyn Dudziec, Founder, Executive Director


Katie’s Story

Evelyn and Conrad adopted Katie as an infant. She was diagnosed with Oral, Facial Digital Syndrome, failure to thrive and not expected to live to reach her first birthday. Katie's birth parents were young and frightened of her choking episodes and not being able to eat by mouth, so in her best interest they gave her up for adoption.

Katie spent the next several years going in and out of the hospital but she proved the doctors wrong when they advised her adopted family that she would not live to reach her first birthday.

Slowly Katie progressed and at the age of 3 the feeding tube was removed because she now could eat by mouth. She walked independently when she was 4.

Just when things seemed to be going well, Katie was diagnosed with Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma at the age of 11. She spent 7 months going in and out of St. Joseph’s Hospital for intense chemo therapy. Again Katie would prove she was strong by fighting the cancer.

Katie continued to thrive but as her adoptive parents were getting older they realized that Katie would never be able to live on her own. They started to investigate into group homes and became very depressed to see what life would be for their charming daughter when they were no longer here.

The dream of a Home Built On Love became a reality with the help of friends and family. Katie’s House was registered as a non-profit in 2001.

Katie is now living Her Life, Her Way at Katie's Place. She attends the YMCA five mornings a week, taking water aerobics and yoga. In the afternoon, she volunteers at a local thrift store. Katie also enjoys evening cooking, sign language and dance classes run by KH. Other activities with friends her own age include Friday night Friendship Group and LACE classes for people with intellectual disabilities at the local college.

Katie is a true survivor in every sense of the word.


Some Food For Thought

Hi, I am Katie. I cannot speak. You may pity me and if you do I will see it in your eyes. You may wonder how much I am aware of what goes on around me. I will see that as well.

I assure you I am very aware when you are happy or sad, fearful, patient or impatient, full of love or if you are just doing what you think is your duty for me.

I marvel at your frustration when you can’t understand me, knowing mine is far greater, for I cannot express myself as you do. I cannot gift you with clever conversation or cute remarks to be laughed over and repeated. I cannot give answers to your everyday questions or comment about the world around us. I try but often cannot give you rewards as defined by the world’s standards. Some people may hope to see great strides in my development that they could take credit, but I cannot promise anyone great strides.

Yet what I promise to give you is so much more valuable. I give you the opportunity to discover the depth of your character. I give you the opportunity to show the depth of your love for humanity. You will find how much patience you have when you are with me and how committed you can be to individuals like me. I will test your abilities and I will drive you further then you ever thought you could go.

So in helping to understand me, I benefit and you will also benefit.



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