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    Posted March 7, 2014 by

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    Couple Provides Home for Women with Mental Retardation

    A Texas couple, Mike and Connie Fulbright, provide a home for women with mental retardation in Lubbock, Texas. The home is in conjunction with the Intermediate Care Facilities for Persons with Mental Retardation. The home houses women age 22 to 62 years old and all of them are half-functioning. Connie’s mother, Agnes Dent, started the home 24 years ago, and Connie took over the operation with her husband, Mike. The Fulbrights currently have six women living in their ICF home, with two women in each room.

    The Fulbrights take the women to movies, Sunday church services, out to eat, shopping and to the library. The couple also takes the women to their training program meetings and doctor appointments. The women in the home are required to work every day; these jobs are small tasks, such as placing things in boxes and making crafts.

    While at home, the women are to tend to certain chores assigned to them.

    “They are always willing to help out with chores, such as unloading the dishwasher or throwing away trash, but they have to be told to do it,” said Connie Fulbright. “The ladies usually don’t remember to take care of their chores, so someone has to initiate it.”
    The women also have plenty of free time at home after work every day. In their free time, the women play card and domino games and work on word searches. Some of the women are capable of reading read at a fifth-grade reading level and can write in cursive.
    The women in the ICF home are not only taken care of by the Fulbrights. The Fulbrights have a staff that works around the house from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. every day. The staff takes care of laundry, meals and other tasks asked of them.
    One thing the women really enjoy is attending church services every Sunday morning.
    Donna Coke, who helps with the women’s Bible classes, sends the women cards of encouragement and talks to them about their lives away from the ICF home.
    “The ladies always come into class with smiles on their faces. They like to hug each of the teachers and volunteers every morning,” said Coke. “I love working with them so much. They each have sweet, kind hearts, and I want to help them feel like they are loved and have a purpose.”
    The women in the ICF home are not all from the Lubbock area; some have family and friends that live hours away. During the weekends, the women are free to go home and visit their families. At least one woman goes home every weekend, but some never do. A few of the women either do not have family they wish to see, or their family does not wish to see them.
    Although the job requires much patience and hard work, the Fulbrights, their staff and volunteers are always happy about their decision to help the women in the ICF home.
    “It has been challenging at times,” said Mike. “But it is definitely worth it.”
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