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Building a more inclusive future

Community partners are helping adults with developmental disabilities find independence and inclusion. #k5evening

ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Everyone needs a place they can call home. That's why the nonprofit "Life Enrichment Options," active on the Eastside since 1988, has been building group homes for adults with developmental disabilities. 

"Young moms saw their kids graduating from high school and they had very few opportunities, so they wanted to create a better world for their kids," LEO board member Mike Ernst said. 

They've created places where residents can live independently, but with the special help they need.

"We have strong supports that make these people succeed," said Ernst.  

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In the Westridge neighborhood of the Issaquah Highlands, the organization has reached a milestone. They're about to open house number five. But they didn't get here alone. 

Community partners, including the Taylor Morrison home building company, pitched in in a big way. Taylor Morrison donated more than 3500 hours of planning and skilled labor.

"Beyond belief," Ernst said. "It was exceptional."

Pete Lymberis, the company's Division President, found the project to be surprisingly rewarding. 

"I wasn't expecting to feel how I feel today when I walked in and I saw the finished product," Lymberis said, "It is just an experience that I'm going to go home and tell my wife and kids about. It's just an amazing feeling."

Care provider Pamela Stefansky can't wait to move in.

"This is a homey environment," Stefansky said. "And that is the goal. To make them feel at home."

In the coming weeks, she'll help the home's six new residents settle in, become a family, and join a community that can't wait to meet them.

"And I'm very excited to be part of that."

RELATED: 'Thurston County Inclusion' hopes to bring together children of all abilities

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