How People With Disabilities Live Independently

May 15, 2022 135.4K Views 803 Comments

In a mid-sized town on the space coast of Florida is a place where people living with disabilities are living their best lives. This is a community that encourages independence and freedom. Join me as we meet the residence and learn from those living with challenges but who who have contagious positivity in the way they approach life. Residence that are full of lessons and wisdom that can inspire us all.

► Donate to Promise In Brevard: https://promiseinbrevard.com/donate/
► Watch Brooke’s interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1t7n2pGYuvk
► Watch other residents’ interviews: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZfnfywnhYCR0M8EMD7BmvA

► Video edited by: Natalia Santenello

– Good morning, guys.
The point of this channel
is to bring you into another world,
another way of living that you
might not be familiar with,
that could be the Amish, the Hasidic Jews,
the Chicanos, inner city America.
We can all learn something
from somebody else.
So today, we have the great privilege
to get in with a community
living with disabilities.
Not easy access to get a camera in there,
we got the green light.
The very unique thing about this community
is that they’re living their
truest, most independent lives,
like many of us.
So let’s get in there.
Let’s try to understand their perspective,
how they look at life, how
they look at the world,
and learn something along the way.
Let’s do this.
(calm upbeat music)
Here, we are.
Promise in Brevard.
How you doing?
– Hey, hey.
– [Peter] Peter. AJ.
Nice to meet you. Your name?
– Daniel.
– Daniel, Peter.
– Hi.
– Nice to meet you.
What did you say,
you wanna be on TV?
– Yeah.
– I do. (laughs)
– Okay, you’re on.
Do you live here?
– Yes, yes, I do.
– [Peter] Okay, how’s it been?
– It’s been good.
I’ve been busy, activities,
work, but I love it.
It’s paradise here.
Welcome to paradise.
– Nice to meet you.
– Nice to meet you. Thank you.
Who are these, the Melbourne Bulldogs?
Is that football or baseball?
– My school.
– Oh, okay.
– A big, huge Gene Simmons fan, Kiss.
– You’re a Gene Simmons
fan, you love Kiss?
– Yes.
– Do you like Ace Frehley?
– Yeah, you ever met him?
– No, in a former life,
they’re old school.
Are they still playing?
– In the World Tour.
(Peter laughs)
– Is that your dream to see Kiss?
– Well, I actually saw ’em
one time, two times actually.
– Oh, wow.
– But I never met ’em.
Want to, want to.
– All right,
Gene Simmons is your hero.
– Here we go, so, yeah.
(Peter laughs)
– Raymond?
– Yes.
– Peter.
Got my hand down here.
– Hi, very nice to meet you.
– Yeah, very nice to meet you.
And so you’re gonna show us around, right?
(Peter laughs)
– Yeah,
are we doing the-
– Or provide standup comedy,
or sing, or whatever you wanna do.
You’re working here
typically at the front desk?
– Yes, I work during the week,
usually at the front desk.
– Okay, so what do you do?
– At the front desk, we do,
anyone that comes through,
we ask them to sign in usually.
– Raymond, I didn’t sign
in, do I need to sign in?
Or I’m with you so I’m okay?
– Normally, I would ask you to sign in.
– Okay, I don’t wanna
break rules, let me do it.
How long you been doing this?
– Two or three years, I think.
(device chimes)
This is my fiance, Amanda.
– (laughs) Hi.
– Oh, beautiful.
How long have you two been together?
– We’re coming up our four
year anniversary actually
on the 26th.
– Beginning of 2018.
– [Peter] Where did you two meet?
– Here actually.
– Oh.
– He actually literally ran into me.
(Amanda laughs)
– Yeah.
Yeah.
– I wanna hear the love story.
I gotta hear the love story.
– Okay,
this is a story for the ages, I guess.
(all laugh)
It was pretty much right in
front of the door almost.
(Peter laughs)
And I walked out, I ran
into her, and I don’t know,
I apologized to her.
– He literally tripped
over me. (laughs)
– Yeah.
So I like apologized to her or whatever.
And then it was, you know?
I think that was the
night we made pizza and-
– And danced to Taylor Swift,
“I Knew You Were Trouble.”
(Amanda laughs)
(Peter laughs)
– The old pizza and Taylor
Swift move, huh, Raymond?
Wow.
– Not something
I’ve ever heard of,
but, you know, yeah.
– I think you invented it.
– I think so.
– We call each other trouble
all the time, so. (laughs)
– Okay.
Trouble one, can I call
you trouble one, Raymond?
– (laughs) There you go.
(Amanda laughs)
– [Peter] And what’s the secret
to a very strong
relationship, four years in?
– Communication’s a huge part of it.
Like, if you don’t have
communication or trust, you know,
I really feel like those
are the two key ingredients
to a good relationship.
Trust and communication.
– Trust, communication,
but also understanding and
being open to what your partner
might be trying to tell you.
You’re not gonna always agree on things,
– Sure.
– but it’s important
to be open and hear that
person’s side of things.
Because as in most situations,
like, it’s easy to get caught up
in our own thoughts and emotions,
and to not be open to what
others are trying to tell us.
I’m gonna bring you to the
apartment if that’s okay.
– [Peter] Yeah, I would love to see it.
Where you guys live here?
– I live in the north building.
We’re gonna bring you to
my apartment not Amanda’s.
– [Peter] Okay.
Hey.
– Hey.
– So you know, like, all
the spaces between rooms
and different areas, and you
know where the gates are,
you know-
– I mean,
so I can walk around this
place without my cane,
if I want to.
Yes, I run into things.
But at the end of the day,
like, I made that choice,
you know, I don’t expect
anyone to hold my hand
to lead me around nor
would I want them to.
‘Cause I’ve got skills that
can help me. (exhales sharply)
Pardon me.
– (laughs) He carries
my band around with him
and sometimes he confuses the two.
– Thanks, Amanda.
(all laugh)
– What? It happens.
– So what makes it different here?
What I was told by one of the parents
that has their child
here was that you guys
live a very independent life,
how do you explain that?
– So, okay, I’m gonna define independence.
For me, for example, I
do my best to, you know,
pay my own bills or,
you know, cook and clean,
but not everyone is at that point.
Like, some people’s level of independence
might be working with their
caregiver on budgeting
– Sorry.
– or learning about change.
Or it could be any small step or big step.
– We could take the elevator.
– We could take the elevator?
– Or would the stairs
be better for everyone?
Ooh, what should we do?
– Hey, are they dark?
(Amanda laughs)
Are they creepy?
– Are the stairs dark?
Are they dark and creepy, Amanda?
– I don’t think so. (laughs)
– No.
Let’s do the stairs, let’s
make everyone get exercise.
– Okay, okay.
(Amanda laughs)
Doing the stairs. Amanda,
you got a great laugh.
You’re pretty positive all the time,
or is this just for the camera?
– I do try to be.
– Ooh! (laughs)
Sometimes I have those days
where I need Ray to lift me up.
– [Peter] Oh, yeah.
– Oh. (laughs)
– Yeah.
(Amanda laughs)
– Yeah, Raymond likes
the challenging way, huh?
He’s running up.
– I do.
– Doesn’t want the
elevator, wants the stairs.
I’m the same way.
– No, keep going.
– Sometimes I forget,
like, not that I forget,
but I realize there’s two
different ways you can come up,
like on different ends of each hall.
Occasionally I’ll mix it up.
– [Peter] Oh, so you
have a lounge room here.
– It’s open if you wanna use it,
I don’t know how many people actually do.
– How did I get so
disoriented? I don’t know.
– It’s okay. (laughs)
– No, it’s not.
– [Peter] Well, you just
ran up the stairs, Raymond.
– I did.
(Amanda laughs)
– [Peter] Sprinted up,
sprinted up the stairs.
– So this is my apartment.
I share it with three other people.
– [Peter] Oh, you got posters, Brian,
that’s your roommate, Brian?
– Yes, so that’s Brian.
He’s been with me since the beginning,
when I first moved in.
He’s the only one that’s,
I’ve been through two other
roommates or a few other,
but that’s okay, that’s
change, and it’s part of life.
– [Peter] Brian, how’s
living with Raymond?
Is he a good roommate?
– Yeah.
(all laugh)
– [Peter] Okay, next topic.
– So this is my room.
– This is your room over here, okay.
So who plays guitar?
– [Raymond] Jakon does actually,
he’s another one of my roommates.
– [Peter] Is he a pretty good guitarist?
– He is, oh, I actually have no clue.
(Amanda laughs)
(Peter laughs)
– Okay, so it looks
good in the living room.
– Yeah.
– Okay,
so here’s your room.
– Yep.
– You got a nice place here.
– So, when I moved in,
this room was where I hung
out until I met Amanda,
and then pretty much
hung out in her place.
So this is Gabriel, he’s my
roommate, he just moved in,
what, a few months ago?
– Yeah.
– But this is a change for him.
– Yeah.
– And like, I think-
– [Gabriel] This the first
time I’ve lived out on my own.
– Yeah, so.
– [Peter] First time
living on your own, okay,
so it’s a difficult change
to live out on your own or?
– Absolutely, it is.
– Okay.
– Mostly because I’m not very social.
– [Peter] Okay.
– I spend a lot of time in my room.
I’m about as much of a roommate as Ray is,
like,
(Peter laughs)
except the difference is that
– Ray’s not around much.
– Ray’s not here
and I’m always in there.
– [Peter] Well, it sounds like
it’s a peaceful setup then.
– It is though, yeah, we all get along.
– I mean, we do try, and
I’ve always told Gabriel
if he ever needs anything and,
you know, he has my number
and as I said,
– Yeah.
– I hope you know you
can let me know then.
I probably need to do a
better job at keeping in touch
with you guys too, you know?
But we all do our own things
too, and that’s okay too.
– [Peter] You got a full kitchen going on.
Are you cooking, Raymond?
I know you have
your cafeteria, but.
– Actually I cook a lot.
– Okay.
– We do cook.
We cook together actually.
Amanda has this really
amazing shrimp fried rice.
We can keep walking as I talk,
right?
– Yeah, let’s do it.
– All right, let’s do it.
– I don’t know if I can ask you this now,
and you tell me when
you want me to shut up
’cause I’m okay with that,
– No, ask.
– but ask away.
Do you feel energies of people,
do you feel like when people
are coming close to you,
can you tell that I have a small camera?
You must feel things I would think,
or it’s hard to even say?
– If I am aware of it, it
might be a subconscious thing,
but now that you mention
it, now it’s gonna make me
like curious and think about that more,
which I love stuff like that.
– Right. Okay.
– The funny thing is though,
sometimes he knows it’s me
walking to the front desk
before I even get there.
– It’s because
I know your footsteps.
– But how do you know?
See, Raymond, I was in front of you,
and then I started walking
and then without me talking,
so there was no audio,
but then you started walking
’cause you knew I wasn’t there.
– Well, ’cause I know we’re all gonna-
– Well, he knew we were-
– I thought-
– Now I’m making you think
about this stuff.
– Yeah, no, it’s good.
– You’re like, I just wanted
to make a simple video
and I’m like giving some
– I never once said that.
– metaphysical brain teaser.
– Let’s do it.
– Let’s do it.
– Let’s do it, I love it.
We had our,
Seth, I-
– He used to ask me all kinds of questions
and other people too,
and I like when they do
because it makes me think,
even if I don’t have an
answer in the moment.
– Okay, we’ll put that one on ice.
– I will.
– And then we’ll put it in the marinade,
and then Amanda’s gonna
cook it up with her shrimp.
– There you go.
(Amanda laughs)
I will hold that.
– Something like that.
How about that?
– That was great.
– We take elevator down.
– Yep.
– ‘Cause we walked up.
– Raymond, you getting
soft on me, why are we in the elevator?
(Amanda laughs)
– ‘Cause it’s the one,
you haven’t been there yet.
– I missed the being
beginning of that joke.
What was it?
– What do you call an ape with stripes?
– What?
– A chimpion zebra.
(all laugh)
– This is Miquela.
– I’m gonna use that.
Miquela, nice to meet you.
– Hi.
– This is Peter.
He’s doing a documentary
on Promise and me.
Is it okay if he puts
your joke in his video?
– Yes.
– All right,
awesome.
– (laughs) She’s famous
for her jokes.
– [Peter] Can you give us one more?
– What hat do you get when you cross
a hurricane with a tsunami?
– Florida?
– Wet.
– Wet, okay.
(all laugh)
All right, they’re very useful jokes.
Like very practical.
– Yeah.
– Good one.
– Thank you, Miquela.
– [Amanda] She is very funny.
Mary lives in the west
building over there.
– Yep.
– So do I.
– [Peter] You ladies live
in the west building?
– West building.
– Daniel does also, they
both live in that building.
– [Peter] So you have
a lot of friends here,
fair to say?
– Yes.
– A lot.
– You know everybody?
– Pretty much.
– Pretty much.
– How many people here in total?
– 126.
– 126.
– Yeah, what she said.
– Yeah 100 and-
– [Peter] So you know all 126?
– Pretty much, except for,
like, we get new ones in
and we kinda have to root
them into the stuff too now.
– [Peter] Right.
Kiss’ number one fan?
(Amanda laughs)
– Yes, when you post

in California,
might come here, Kiss come play.
– Kiss might come play?
– It’s his desire to have
Kiss come here and play.
– Yeah.
– All right, Gene Simmons,
if you’re watching,
what do you have to say?
– I say, a big fan of you.
(Amanda laughs)
– I love it that the younger generations
are getting into Kiss still.
– This is Irene.
(ladies laughing)
Irene is a volunteer and a
mom who is absolutely amazing.
– Your son is here.
– My son is here. He has autism.
– Okay.
– So he’s not
the social butterfly.
Every day, he’s learning
how to be independent,
how to navigate the
social environment here.
– Right.
– Because it’s 125 residents
who are very friendly.
– Yeah.
– Right.
He’s thriving because he’s
making his own decisions
about how he spends his
day and who he is around.
It’s not that group home where, you know,
you’re around in close proximity with six,
five or six other people
and you have to go to the mall with them.
– So that’s something I’m curious about
’cause I don’t know much
about these environments,
but when I typically think of these homes,
I’m thinking what you’re just saying.
The group home, very
structured, very rigid.
And by the way, Promise is not
paying me to make this video,
I’m just interested in this story.
– (laughs) No, they’re not paying me.
They never pay me. (laughs)
– They don’t pay you.
But is that what-
– That’s exactly. You should
just be my spokesperson.
– Just to finish up on that,
you’re saying it’s different
in the sense that it’s more
independence for the residents?
– Yeah, absolutely.
My son, he can come out of
his apartment and be safe.
– Okay.
– He can come out
and walk the campus, become
involved in activities.
He can walk outside, he
takes a walk every night.
– Okay.
– And I don’t have to worry
about him being in the public.
– That’s back to Raymond’s
point he made earlier,
everyone’s sort of at their own level
with their independence,
and they can sort of work
from there and do how they,
you know, what they can.
Be who they wanna be,
how about that?
– Yeah, and that’s the thing,
like really important part of living here
and being a part of the
community here at Promise
is that there is no, you know, judgment
as to where people are or,
you know, judgment at all.
What’s the easiest way to
get outta here, Amanda,
’cause we’re done with,
I mean I love this room.
– We have a minefield
of tables right here.
– We can go around,
or if you’d rather?
So we also have a shortcut.
We can go through these doors (laughs)
so we don’t have to go
through all the tables.
‘Cause they also use the dining room
for lots of different events.
He was just in a fashion
show actually last week.
– [Peter] You had a
fashion show last week?
Okay.
– It was last Wednesday.
– How was that?
– I was in the audience.
My stepmom bought me a ticket to go
’cause it’s $100 a ticket.
So I was really excited that
he was gonna be in it.
– I was nervous at first,
but then I was out on there,
like, I’m not very good with crowds,
like in terms of being on stages,
but once I relaxed, I kinda
got into it a little bit.
Like, you know, doing the
whole, going the runway,
down the runway thing and doing the-
– You did the whole runway?
– I did the catwalk thing.
(Amanda laughs)
I tried to do the Travolta wave
kinda thing, you know?
(Peter laughs)
– Show him the wave and
then the other move you did.
– All right, I’m gonna go down
here, you come towards me.
You do the walk.
– All right, so I do need my cane,
or something like that.
– [Peter] And then you turned around?
– And then I turned around,
I walked right back.
(Amanda laughs)
– You, you owned it.
You owned that walkway, runway.
– Kinda.
– Hello.
– Hi.
– Madison, I think I saw
you when I was coming in.
You were out on the
sidewalk, is that correct?
– Uh-huh.
– Do you cruise around a lot?
– Yeah,
– Where are you from, Madison, originally?
– Where am I originally from?
I’m originally from Dallas.
– From Dallas?
– Mm-hmm.
– [Peter] What do you think of Florida?
– It’s hot
and humid,
– Well, Dallas is-
– but I like it otherwise.
– You like it, how is Promise?
Do you enjoy living here
or what’s your experience?
– I do, I enjoy hanging out
with friends, and talking
with different people,
and having the freedom that I have.
It’s fun.
– You have a lot of freedom?
– Mm-hmm.
– How so, you can go
to Target on your own?
– Go to Target on my own, do
what I need to do on my own.
I also have two other
caregivers, so they help me too.
– Oh, that’s great.
– So, yeah.
– How was Raymond, now he’s
gone so you can be honest,
how was he in the fashion show?
Was he?
– He was pretty good.
No, he was good.
He was really good.
– He had the moves?
– Yeah.
– Could you tell
he was nervous the night before?
– Yes, yes.
– You could tell? (laughs)
– But he was good.
– We have some backing
on your performance.
– Nice, so-
– You did a good job.
– I kinda wanna give you an overview
of what it’s like working in the back,
if we can do that real quick.
– Yeah, let’s do that.
Let’s see what you do, Raymond.
– We’ll be right back, Amanda.
– I’ll wait for you.
– So usually, I put my cane over here,
that way it’s out of the way.
Over here, we might have packages.
Let’s see if we have any today. We do.
We have keys that we give out,
they’re caregiver fobs, we call them.
– Okay.
– We take the key,
we bump into things.
– [Peter] Does Amanda hang out there often
when you’re working back here?
– No.
– Is she in that chair?
– No, we do not.
We try to be very mindful
– Okay.
– of hanging out,
you know, while the other’s working.
Like, I might drop food off
for her at night or whatever,
but I don’t usually hang out down here
and she doesn’t hang out
while I’m here either.
– Okay, so you take your
work very seriously?
– Yes, I love what I do.
Being a part of the
team here and, you know,
Christie and all of us working together
to make Promise what it is,
it takes a team, you know?
– [Peter] Right.
– Thank you, Christie.
– You’re welcome.
– Thanks, Christie.
– Good job.
See you later.
– So this is our media room.
– Okay.
– There’s computers,
I believe there’s an Xbox, there’s books,
and our library is in here too, I think.
– Raymond, do you pay rent or
do you get paid for your work
and they put that towards your rent,
or how does that work?
– So the rent
is based off Section 8 housing,
so it’s 30% of our income,
whatever sources of income you have.
So if someone gets social security income,
they’ll, you know, 30% of that.
If they work, whatever
your income source is,
it’s 30% of that.
And I just heard thunder.
– Yeah.
– Oh, this is gonna be fun.
– Yeah. (laughs)
– Are you prepared? (laughs)
– [Peter] Okay, where are we going now?
– We’re going to the art center.
Using the cane, there’s
different techniques
you can use when you travel.
I don’t remember the
name of this technique,
but it’s more like, I prefer
to roll the tip on the ground.
You can bounce your cane like
different to detect, you know,
different things or depending
on what you’re looking for.
– Do you ever have any
accidents or very rarely?
– Oh, who doesn’t?
– (laughs) This is true.
– This is the learning center.
But-
– We do come in here
for book club.
– We do come in here
for book club, we come in here for bingo.
Art is in this area.
– [Peter] So you guys have
so much going on here, huh?
– There’s over 60 plus
activities going on in one week.
– Are you ever lonely here?
Do you ever feel lonely?
– No.
No, I don’t.
– I think, no.
– Let me ask you this,
do you feel like you’re in
your own world out here,
as in like it’s a very complex country,
there are all these issues going on,
do you keep up on different social issues,
or things?
– I do, I try to,
I’m very much aware of the news,
or try to be at least
aware of the basics of,
you and I, I think we
talked about it before,
the whole Ukraine situation.
It’s terrible, like, what’s
happening over there right now.
My opinion and I, you
know, war is never anything
that anyone should want
or, you know, encourage.
And it just doesn’t make
sense to me sometimes
why things happen the
way they do, you know?
– What do you think people
that don’t live like you
could learn from you?
You have a different way
of living than say me,
everyone’s different in their own sense,
but what could we learn from you?
– So if I was to give any
advice to any one person,
or any one, it would be that,
A, your boundaries are important
with how you interact with others
and people interact with you.
Also, just being mindful
of others, you know,
everyone’s human, everyone has feelings
and no one person is any
better than anyone else.
There’s enough negativity,
and life is too short to hold grudges
and just to be negative.
It’s just too short for that.
– We both know
that first hand.
– Well said.
You know that first hand?
I lost my grandpa April of
2020 due to a heart attack.
– Okay, I’m sorry.
– And, yeah.
And I lost my grandparents on
my dad’s side, both of them,
when I was in my early 20s and, yeah.
And I have one living
grandparent left, my mom’s mom.
And so I miss my other
grandparents, I really do.
And so I know how it feels, you know,
to lose somebody so close to you.
I used to have a very special relationship
with each of my
grandparents and it’s hard.
And I know Ray’s going through
a similar situation now,
he recently lost his mom.
– Oh, I’m sorry, Ray.
– He doesn’t like
to talk about it,
– I’m sorry.
– [Amanda] But, you know?
– [Peter] I’m sorry.
– It’s, you know, thank
you, I appreciate that.
And I,
you know, grief is one of those things
that is truly a personal thing.
And I don’t think any one person grieves
the same way, you know?
Yeah, there are similarities.
‘Cause, you know, I remember
I would say to someone,
I’m sorry, you know,
you can empathize with the feelings
that that person goes through,
but their own individual
feelings, those are there.
I didn’t fully realize how
personal it was until like,
you know, I lost my grandma in July.
Which, you know,
she lived a life of,
she did her best to do
what she felt was right
by raising her kids and, or my aunts.
And then, you know, my mom in March,
I didn’t,
you know, it’s one of those things like,
you know, you get the
call where they tell you,
actually it was a text
I think it started with,
or I can’t quite remember the full.
I think it was texting
and then conversations
throughout the night, you know,
we didn’t think my mom was gonna make it.
And I remember, at first,
then we thought she might pull through,
but, you know, unfortunately she didn’t.
And I know she’s at peace,
and it’s me that has to find
that journey of peace within myself.
‘Cause I know she wouldn’t want
me to be all like, you know,
she’d want me to live my life and,
yes, acknowledge the feelings of grief,
but, you know,
to not let it consume me
either, which there are days.
I just tell people for
the most part, you know,
when I’m going through it,
I just say I’m managing
because each day has just been different.
But I also know that
I try not to let that stuff
consume me, I guess is the best answer.
– Well said, Raymond.
– ‘Cause like I said,
life is too short.
– [Amanda] And she loved
Promise for you too.
– She did.
I thought it’d be easier
to find work down here,
I’m not sure why I thought that.
– In Florida?
– Yeah, don’t ask me
why I thought that.
– So where’d you
move down from?
– From Massachusetts.
– [Peter] So you had a dream
to move down to Florida
to find work?
– No, it was just like,
(Amanda laughs)
I didn’t have a plan, I
wasn’t going anywhere.
I graduated from school, got an apartment,
and found a job at Umass
in Amherst, title of the area.
I did line cook, which was
pretty much preparing sandwiches
and preparing salads and things.
– Is that challenging
being a line cook?
– No. No.
– [Peter] Was that
challenging for you, no?
– No, and, I think, I wanted more
out of what they could offer me.
So I ended up going into school
and I thought I would do computer work.
You know, repairing computers
and stuff like that.
So I did a computer networking course.
And by the time I graduated that,
I realized that wasn’t quite
where I wanted to go either.
So I didn’t really have a plan
for what I was looking for
when I came down here.
I just felt like I needed a
change somewhere in my life.
– What do you wanna ask him?
(Amanda laughs)
– (laughs) She’s worried about the clouds.
– [Peter] What do you guys think?
I’m down for the adventure.
– I am too personally.
– Well, he wants to storm chase
and I don’t want him to.
– I do.
I would love to go storm chasing.
Would you wanna go storm chasing, Peter?
– I would love to.
– Let’s do it.
– Like chasing tornadoes?
– Yes, let’s do it.
– I really don’t want you to though.
– Sorry, but, you know?
– So one of your big outings you’re saying
is going to Target?
– On our own, yeah, we love to do that.
– Sometimes we take the
bus, sometimes we walk.
– Sometimes I Uber, I won’t lie.
(Amanda laughs)
– You’re Uber cheating?
– Sometimes.
– [Peter] Raymond, I
got a question for ya.
– Yes.
– What is your dream?
What are your dreams?
– So firstly, I’d love
to get my podcast going.
That’s my hobby, that’s my love of, like,
you know, my profession,
Some type of managerial role, you know?
Are you, like, going backwards?
– I’m totally
(Amanda laughs)
walking backwards.
– I can tell, is it awkward for you?
– No, I’ve done this plenty of times.
– You know, the funny
part is, as a cane user,
you’re told not to walk backwards.
(Amanda laughs)
How many people can say they
have to drive across the bridge
to get to where they live?
I’m sorry, but that is awesome.
– I feel the same way.
(Amanda laughs)
There’s something about
going over a bridge, right?
There’s like a separation,
even if there’s nothing under the bridge.
(Amanda laughs)
– So, I mean, you’ve been,
I’ve never been out of the country,
– I have.
– so I
have nothing to compare anything to.
I guess my question for you
is, you’re living back here now
since you moved back,
– Yeah, yes.
– is there any one thing that’s
been harder being back here
versus being outside of the country?
– I will say there’s a certain freedom
with living in another country
where that country’s problems
are not your problems.
– [Raymond] Yeah.
– And your problems are
back home in your country
and you’re not thinking about them.
– Yeah.
– So I’m more in tune
with more cultural and political issues
now that I’m back home
than if I was overseas.
But other than that, I gotta say,
I’m really happy to be back.
I’m loving being back in the US.
And I’m discovering this country really
in a way I never did before.
Like, just where we’re at today.
Look at this day today,
this is a new world for me.
You guys bring me into your universe.
I get to learn from you guys.
– But we’re learning from you as well.
– No, it’s collaborative,
it’s beautiful, right?
– There’s meant to be a unity
in life, like of oneness.
And our friend Seth,
he would talk about how there
was always this, you know,
– Bigger universe.
– we’re all one,
at one point, we’re all one.
– Yeah.
– So really, we’re all part of the same,
I don’t know if soul’s the right word,
but I feel like that’s the right word.
So we’re all one big part of
this big soul of existence.
You know what I mean?
– The plane of existence.
– Yeah.
– [Peter] How do you guys cross here?
– I wait until there’s a break
in traffic and then I go.
– Okay.
– So if we go right now,
we can go.
– Let’s do it, let’s do it.
Driving makes me anxious sometimes
when I’m with people driving,
and it’s because other
people on the road like-
– Wait, stop.
– Watch out,
watch out, you guys, stop, stop.
– Yeah, we’re okay.
– Okay, we’re good.
– Thank you.
– Nice people.
Watch out behind and cool, we’re good.
– Peter was like, there you go.
And we’re gonna get some rain, folks.
– Yeah, I feel it.
– Amanda wants to kill me,
I know it.
– She’s gonna kill you
with the teddy bear here.
– (laughs) Actually, this is a puppy
named Rocco.
– Puppy.
– He’s our emotional support pup,
so he kinda goes
everywhere with us really.
– [Peter] Rocco’s in
style with the bow tie.
(Amanda laughs)
– So I know a lot of people
look at us and are like, why
do you carry that around?
Like, it’s so childish and stuff.
But my explanation to them is this,
we could have dogs as an
emotional support pet,
but I would worry about
taking on the cost of a dog.
You know, taking care of
myself is difficult enough,
why would I take on the cost of a dog
when I don’t know that I
could realistically take care
of the dog, you know?
– [Peter] You’re a
responsible guy, Raymond.
– Yeah, so then Rocket, Rocco,
we call him Rocket, Rocco,
there’s all kinds of names, like.
– All kinds of nicknames.
– Rocco?
– [Raymond] We gave him his own
little world, you know?
– His name is Rocco,
but we also call him Rocket,
Rockidge. (laughs)
– And I know, I know,
I know how it looks to
people, I’ve been told
and-
– He even has his own voice,
I have to admit.
– And I know that sounds off to people,
but if it’s what helps us
and if it’s what means something to us,
then I really don’t, no offense, care
about what others think in that regard.
– [Peter] You gotta live your world.
– Yeah.
– Yeah.
– [Peter] Okay, who’s
this woman over here.
– This is Nicki walking.
– Nicki, across the street.
So she can work at Publix say full-time,
and then she can pay one third
of her salary at Promise,
right?
– Mm-hmm, so Publix is,
you know, it’s a shopping grocery store,
for those that may not know what it is,
but they are a huge supporter
of contributing towards Promise.
– We have a lot of residents
– And, I mean,
– that work at Publix.
– definitely, yeah,
they both employing wise, and
both as far as an employer
and as far as being.
– They were also a sponsor
for the fashion show
as well.
– Yeah, they sponsored
the fashion show.
– Oh, okay.
– They’re always very kind and
respectful towards residents,
you know, when we go in for shopping.
– Oh, kill it. (laughs)
(Amanda laughs)
– Is that the best advice
– The time is
– you got? (laughs)
– 3:39.
– Yeah, and it’s 3:39, by the way.
Thank you, Peter, you could
have totally, you know,
decided not to take the bus or whatever.
And I love that you
were willing to get out
and join us on that.
– No, I wanna see your world.
– I didn’t think I had
shoes for this. (laughs)
– I really do wish there was more,
and I wish we could make
Promise grow into its own, like,
I always had a vision of
Promise being like a city of,
you know, not just necessarily
the idea of Promise,
you know what I mean?
– [Peter] Mm, here we go. The number 20.
– Yep.
– (laughs) This is the bus.
(bus door beeping)
– [Amanda] You wanna go up first?
In front of you.
– Oh.
– There you go.
You might just need a little step.
(bus driver speaks faintly)
(bus driver laughs)
(Amanda laughs)
– That’s okay, it happens.
– You know, (speaks
faintly) about this time.
– I usually work from seven
to 10 so I hear you. (laughs)
– [Amanda] Do you think
there’s a spot for me? (laughs)
– Nah.
– So for you both, this
is a very important
part of your lives, having this bus?
– Yeah.
– It is vital,
actually, I would say.
– What if you went further,
what if you went all the way
into Melbourne or something?
Would they be okay with that?
Or are you?
– We’ve done that before,
we actually took the bus to
Downtown Melbourne before.
– You can take the bus all the
way up to Orlando, I think.
(Raymond chattering indistinctly)
– Yeah, so I also take
the bus to my dentist,
and my dentist is in here
as well, so I go to ask him
right over there.
– What is that?
– It’s a camera.
– Oh.
(Amanda laughs)
(Peter laughs)
– Have a great day.
– I was wondering
what are you doing?
– He’s filming us.
– Oh.
Who is he with?
– He’s with us for the time being.
– [Peter] You don’t know who Raymond is?
(Amanda laughs)
Everyone knows Raymond.
– Oh, I don’t know about that one.
– “Everybody Loves Raymond.”
(Amanda laughs)
– Yeah, you even have a show.
– We make that joke all the time.
– [Peter] So, Raymond,
I’ve always wondered is
this, if you step one
or two steps ahead,
– Okay, we gotta go now.
– there’s that, the texture.
– Yeah.
– Is that a huge help for you?
– It is actually,
like, if I’m trying to cross
or if I don’t wanna go off the sidewalk,
if they put that there,
it’s meant to imply that
there is that, you know,
that there’s gonna be a transition.
– And the beeping that
helps too, with the-
– I wish we had more of those.
– I’m gonna press this button.
– The beepers?
– And that they were more interactive
’cause I didn’t get a
signal that we could cross,
whereas Amanda saw
something, I’m assuming.
– Right, so do you ever come
out here alone without Amanda?
– I used to when I started out,
but, no, traffic makes me nervous now.
Like, going through parking
lots I’m, ugh, yeah.
Not always, I wouldn’t be comfortable.
It’s not as easy doing that on my own.
– Right now,
he’s making his own.
(wheels screeching)
– Geez, people, see-
– See, that’s what you
gotta worry about, huh?
– Yeah, exactly.
That’s the kinda stuff,
like why would you do that?
– Yeah.
– He didn’t need to do that or they.
– So does that put a little fear in you
when you’re walking around
these areas and you hear that?
– It does actually, like.
– It freaks him out
like if he’s by himself,
he’d rather be with me ’cause
he knows he’s safe with me.
– Yeah, and it’s not a good thing
that I rely on her for that.
I know that, but at the
same point, it’s there
and I have to work within that for now,
you know?
– Right.
– And he goes shopping on his own.
He’s able to find somebody
that actually helps him shop
if he needs it.
– So there’s a service
called Aira, A-I-R-A,
and it’s visual on
demand help pretty much.
So like I call into them through my phone,
there’s an app on my phone,
and they can guide me through
the camera on my phone
for what I’m looking for,
what I wish to accomplish.
Like, it could be
something on the computer,
it could be anything.
– Is this the Tarjay?
– I can’t wait to sit down.
Yep.
– This is the Tarjay.
– And why do you say Tarjay, Raymond?
– ‘Cause it’s more classier.
– And it’s more fun. (laughs)
– We’re about to enter the Tarjay.
Do you have white gloves
to touch the handles,
sir?
(both laugh)
Would you like a-
– We can use the puppy one.
– [Peter] There we go.
That’s Tarjay style.
– There you go, Amanda.
– Classy.
Watch out, you got a cart right there.
– Yep, there’s a whole bunch of ’em.
– Do you like if someone
says watch out, or, no,
you’re good enough for you-
– It helps.
Sometimes I run into things,
but sometimes running into
things actually helps me
figure out where I wanna go, too.
– [Peter] Right, so this
is where you do your dates,
one of the places?
– We spend a lot of time
here actually.
– And when we came over,
where you said, this is the table.
I sat over there, you’re
saying, nope, this is our table.
– Yep.
– Yep,
this is our regular table. (laughs)
You seen “The Peanut Butter Falcon?”
– [Peter] The movie, why?
– “The Peanut Butter Falcon?”
– No.
– It has Shia LaBeouf
and Dakota Johnson in it.
And it also stars my
friend Zack Gottsagen.
He has down syndrome.
– Oh, okay.
– He was my very first friend
when I moved to Florida.
– Okay.
– And he’s doing big
things with his life now.
– That’s so cool.
– This is the two of us.
This is a picture of us doing
“Greece” together actually.
– Oh, yeah.
– He was Danny
and I was Sandy.
– Who?
– Danny and Sandy from “Greece.”
I know you don’t like the
movie, but I do. (laughs)
– [Peter] I can ask you first, Amanda,
where would you love to
travel to in the world?
– I’ve always wanted to
go to Italy actually.
If I ever got married and
I went on a honeymoon,
that’s where I would wanna go.
– ‘Cause that’s not
dropping clues or nothing.
(Amanda laughs)
– [Peter] All right, Raymond,
it looks like you’re going to Italy.
You can’t disagree-
– Looks like we better
start saving on that one.
(Amanda laughs)
(Raymond laughs)
– [Peter] What about you, Raymond?
– Mine used to be Australia,
but I’m kind of curious about Ireland.
– [Peter] What do you love
most about life, Raymond?
I’m gonna dive in on you again.
– Hmm.
(Amanda laughs)
(customers chattering)
– [Amanda] That’s a long time for you
to answer, Ray. (laughs)
– [Peter] I mean, the easy
out would be right now Amanda.
Just say Amanda, number one,
everything else, nah, I’m just joking.
– I thought you meant in
like, not just like here,
but, of course, Amanda,
Amanda’s like love my life,
my best friend.
– Aw.
– And, you know,
as I said, she balances me
out and sometimes I need that.
– [Amanda] And he balances me out too.
– Yin and yang here.
– Yeah.
– But-
– We’re complete opposites,
but we work.
– That’s how I’m with
my wife actually.
– The one thing about life
that I would say I love most
is like learning about people,
like why they think the way they do
or what led them to where they are,
stuff like that, you know?
Everyone has something
to tell, some story,
whether they realize it or not.
– [Peter] You ask for the Uber’s name?
– Yeah, like if I know it’s
gonna be some guy named Carlos,
I won’t say, who are you?
I’ll say, who are you?
And then if he says his name,
then, obviously, I know
I’m in the right place.
– How do you know their names,
Raymond?
– It tells you in the app.
– [Peter] But how do you read it?
– My voice, oh, I didn’t get
into any of that with you,
did I?
– No.
– My phone has a screen
reader called VoiceOver,
it’s available on all iPhones.
– Okay, you can go in here, bro.
Right here.
You know what happened
at the back of my head?
(Raymond laughs)
– Do you need help
with the doors?
– I’ll tell you what,
it’s the shape of an egg,
look at it, like this.
See that?
– (laughs) Oh my gosh,
that’s funny.
– It looked like he’s been
with the trimmer or something.
– Well, Raymond’s got the
trimmer, I got the egg.
– There you go. (laughs)
(Amanda laughs)
– We’re looking for
(people chattering)
another resident, Matthew.
– [Jeff] Hi, Christine, how are you?
– And this is Jeff ahead of me.
And we’re gonna get some of
the nuts and bolts from Jeff
of the operation a little bit. (laughs)
– The nuts and bolts.
(all laugh)
I think I made them nuts.
– Oh, Raymond,
hey, I didn’t mean that.
– I know.
– That just came out.
(Amanda laughs)
– Yeah, it’s good.
– [Peter] I made you nuts
with all my questions, right?
– No, I don’t mind at all.
– You’re in charge of
this operation, obviously.
– Yes, I am. (laughs)
– There’s a waiting
list, long waiting list?
– A long waiting list.
– There’s a huge need for
this, around the country,
around Florida, or?
– There is such a shortage
of communities like this.
– Right.
– And the challenge is that
the options short of this
are nothing like this.
My phone rings off the hook
from all over the country
wanting to know how do you do this?
And it’s complicated.
You have to find the funds
to actually make something
like this happen.
There are private paid places,
but they can be thousands
of dollars a month of rent.
So in order to pay for, you
know, me, my staff, Tammy,
you know, and a lot of the people
who make this a great
place for them to live,
we have to raise money.
– I can’t imagine the overhead
with something like this.
It’s gotta be massive.
– It is. It is.
This is literally like
a $20 million campus.
– I love the fact that
you’re doing something
that’s based off independence.
– Yeah.
– And try to make your
residences as self-sustainable
as possible.
– That’s what
they love about it.
– That’s beautiful.
– You know, when you live
at home with your families
and you’re 30 years
old, and all of a sudden
you come live in a place like this,
you can’t take for granted
what they need help learning
how to do to live on their own
and independently.
– Right.
Were you in the fashion show?
– Yes.
– You were in
the fashion show?
Fantastic.
– Yeah.
– Woo!
– You got the dance moves.
Matthew.
Peter.
– Hi.
– Nice to meet you.
– Nice to meet you.
– Farida.
Richard, okay.
I was looking online,
I saw a video of you,
and you’re a pianist, correct?
(“Who Let the Dogs Out?”)
– I play music.
– You play music?
– Yeah.
– Yeah.
– Yeah.
– [Peter] And where do
you live here, Matthew,
are you in one of these places over here?
– I live in north building.
– In the north building?
– Yeah.
– Okay.
And what do you love about living here?
– All the activities and
people are nice to me.
– People are nice to you?
– Yeah.
– How long has Matthew been here?
– Four years.
– And could you imagine it without this?
– Well, he would be in probably
some restricted environment.
Here, he has plenty of choices to practice
his decision making skills.
And another place, he would
probably be staying with us
and I would be making decisions for him
– Oh, yeah.
– or someone else
in the group home.
So here, you know, for me,
life is about having choices
and making hopefully right decisions.
– Yes.
– And sometimes,
we have to take risks
and make the wrong ones
and learn and grow.
– So you have a lot going on, Matthew?
– Yes.
– What are your aspirations?
What are your dreams?
– My dream is to become an actor.
– An actor?
– Yeah.
– Yeah.
– Yeah.
– [Peter] What kind of acting.
– Like movie and TV shows.
– I’m watching “Yellowstone” right now.
Did you see that?
– No.
– It’s Kevin Costner out in
the West living like a cowboy.
Part of me finds something
really cool in that.
Like, I wouldn’t wanna be
his character actually,
but I’d like to be a
cowboy for a little bit.
Like, what would you like
to be that’s different
than you are right now?
– I don’t know yet.
– You don’t know yet, okay, yeah, yeah.
I didn’t know pretty much
anything about what I was doing
with this until like
a year and a half ago.
It took me a lot of experimentation,
a lot of trial, a lot of failure.
And a lot of just doing.
– Most people care about
the disadvantaged people
and is no other groups that
adults with disabilities
who are so disadvantaged.
Children, they have parents,
they always have somebody to take care of.
Over here, they don’t
have anybody to depend on,
only on government, what
can help them a little bit.
And even small thing for
the people means so much,
like, one time, one girl, she was saying,
“Oh, today my father was calling me.”
And she was telling to everybody
that she had phone call from somebody.
And such small thing
is so important to them,
that somebody put attention to them.
They give them a little
bit, you know, time,
they want to be wanted.
They want to be accepted by other.
And this is probably the most
important, you know, for them,
not how rich they are, not
how nice clothes they have.
They want to be important.
– Mm-hmm.
Amanda took off. She’s had enough of us.
(Raymond laughs)
Thank you, Raymond, you’re awesome.
– Thank you, Peter,
thank you for your time
seriously.
– Can I get a hug?
Is that all right?
– Of course, yeah.
– Hey, Shane!
– It’s all good.
You’re so tall compared to me.
I think you’re six feet?
– Six feet, you got it.
– That’s what I read
somewhere.
– You got it.
All right, guys, end of the road,
few final thoughts from today.
I gotta say it was quite an
amazing window in to a world
that I think most of
us know nothing about.
What, was I here for six hours?
And what I could get was a feeling,
a feeling of the residents
of Amanda, of Raymond,
of some of the others, able
to live their freest lives,
able to get on that bus and go to Tarjay
for a date at the Starbucks.
And while that might not seem
like anything to a lot of us,
I think it’s everything for
a lot of these residents.
So I admire how they’re operating Promise.
Learned a lot from these guys today,
from Amanda and Raymond,
and just the wisdom and the ability
for them to be very
comfortable with who they are.
I think a lot of people
in these circumstances,
they don’t care about
putting on an image, a show,
playing pretend, impressing, any of that.
That’s not the vibe I get.
The vibe I get is they
are very comfortable
with who they are, very
authentic, down-to-earth.
And it’s a nice feeling to be around.
So hope you got something
outta that, guys.
Oh, I’m gonna leave a
link below for Promise.
I know they’re a nonprofit,
which I’m guessing means
they’re taking donations.
I didn’t get that info from Jeff,
but I’m sure that is the case.
So I’ll leave a link down below.
Thanks for coming along
(calm upbeat music)
on that journey, until the next one.

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