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Dear Friends,

 

“I just knew she was the one…”   

Peter and Yolan celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary this spring. They are an amazing example of UCP’s commitment to supporting individuals with disabilities to live a LIFE WITHOUT LIMITS.

 

Peter and Yolan’s love story dates back 30 years, when they were both attending UCP’s Adult Day Program. After years of friendship, they began dating, fell in love and then Peter proposed. The couple married in 1997, surrounded by family, friends and their extended UCP family.

 

The couple share a love of TV and music (he loves R&B, she loves Elvis); they enjoy concerts, and trips to Belmont and Atlantic City. But what they love most is being home together.

Home. Most engaged couples plan their life together – which includes living together. But it’s not that simple for individuals with a disability. Many struggle to find residential programs. Most residential programs focus on individual needs and many service providers elect not to focus on the complex needs of couples. It is a challenge for couples to find a home. Although Peter and Yolan were married 25 years ago, things are not much easier for couples today.

 

Fortunately, UCP has a 70+ year history of being a progressive service provider, willing to advocate and support the needs of those in our programs. When Peter and Yolan became engaged, UCP began to develop ideas to create the home they needed to live their lives together.

 

UCP identified a residence with the space to create a private suite and needed to secure the approval and funding to move forward. Peter and Yolan began to write to local and state legislators requesting the approval and the funding to make this a reality. This was necessary because residential programs are funded by the NYS Office of People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) and it was necessary to get approval for this unique situation.

 

With UCP by their side, Peter and Yolan shared with everyone that they were in love and wanted to spend their lives together. OPWDD approved the project and UCP was able to provide the residential supports they each needed, while creating a sense of privacy and independence that Peter and Yolan desired to live out their married life.

 

Today, Peter and Yolan remain grateful for their home. UCP created a large bedroom, sitting room and bathroom for the couple.

They love the individuals they share their home with, explaining their housemates are “like family.” When asked about plans to celebrate their silver anniversary, the couple say they don’t have any…perhaps dinner and cake with their housemates. Their wish for the future? They smile and say 25 more happy years together.

 

It has always been UCP’s mission to respond to the emerging needs of the individuals that we support. Peter and Yolan fell in love and needed UCP’s support to live their lives together, as married people. That was their dream and UCP has remained by their side.

 

UCP has been making dreams come true for individuals with disabilities for 70+ years. Dreams of love, home, employment, family, independence, and more. But we cannot do it alone. We need your help. Please donate online at www.ucp-li.org/donate or use the enclosed envelope and send your donation today.

 

Please consider making a donation today by visiting  www.ucp-li.org/support-us

 

Sincerely,

Colleen Crispino
President & CEO

 

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