As she tries to get help for her autistic brother, a Rochester area woman is working on a plan she hopes will eventually help other people with intellectual disabilities as well as area veterans.
24 year old Jennyrae Brongo says the idea happened when she had to take over a family contracting business after her dad died. At the same time, Brongo was looking for a way to help her 23 year old brother Chucky, whose autism has involved episodes where he injures himself.
Brongo wanted to create a safe and mentally stimulating environment for him, and she is now leasing her uncle's farm which is situated along the canal in Spencerport. She says her organization called Homesteads for Hope, would eventually develop a group home type setting on that farm for other young adults with intellectual disabilities.
“They need that one of a kind place where acceptance and integration is effortless, where they can walk in there and these kids can be who they are and we don’t have to worry because someone doesn’t understand.”
Brongo envisions the site eventually containing living space for the young people as well as work programs that incorporate the kinds of tasks that are done on a farm. It all takes a lot of money, and as part of the fundraising effort, Brongo is hoping the project can win up to $50,000 being offered in the Ultimate Neighborhood Give Back Challenge, which would also involve home improvement TV personality Ty Pennington visiting the sites of the winning entries.
“We need the community support we need people to believe in us and we need someone like Ty Pennington to walk in here and go, wow, everything you need is right here on these 55 acres. And I feel like it’s a good enough project, it’s a good enough cause.”
Brongo says her Homesteads for Hope idea would also involve making the facility open to returning veterans in an environment she feels would be therapeutic for them.