JFS Perspectives

Monday, September 09, 2019

Meet Laurie Greene: JFS Group Home's Resident of 37 Years

Meet Laurie Greene: JFS Group Home's Resident of 37 Years

Laurie cooking in the 1980sLawrence “Laurie” Greene, 73, has lived in the JFS Group Home for more than half his life! Laurie’s family was one of the families who approached JFS about opening a Jewish home nearly 40 years ago. When the Group Home opened in September 1982, those families’ wishes became a reality and Laurie was one of the first residents to move in.

Located in southeast Denver, the JFS Group Home offers a warm, caring residential environment and skilled supervision for eight adult residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The family-like setting is designed to foster a community of support where residents, friends, counselors, parents, and educators empower residents to live productive, responsible, and meaningful lives. The trained staff provides rich programming, fun activities, life skills training, and nutritious kosher-style meals, helping residents reach their full potential while enjoying a Jewish cultural atmosphere and active social lives.

When asked what he likes best about living in the home, Laurie says, “Everything! I like the staff, the residents, and my bedroom. I like getting out of the house all the time for activities, too. I like going bowling a lot. I like having a nice conversation with the residents and when we get going, we don’t know when to stop!”

Lee and Laurie helicopter rideOver the years, Laurie has participated in a wide variety of activities, including bowling, croquet tournaments, Jewish holiday celebrations, sporting events, and even adventures such as a helicopter ride.

Taylor Rutherford, group home manager, says, “Laurie is a wonderful resident, and is still extremely active. No matter what the activity, he wants to participate! The other residents really look to him as a leader in the home, and he prides himself on being a gentleman toward the staff.”

Laurie developed a close friendship with another resident named Lee, who moved out of the Group Home a few years ago. But Laurie has only fond memories of his times with Lee. He says, “Oh he and I have been friends for a good long time. I used to be in the bedroom next to Lee and before long he said, ‘Get your stuff ready to move over to my room!’ We were roommates for five years and we’re still going strong (in our friendship) even though he’s moved out. He and I keep in touch when we’re at the bowling alley. We like to talk a lot about the group home, and he likes to know how our bedroom is.”

Laurie and Lee talent showFortunately, Laurie and Lee still see each other at SHALOM Denver, too. They were both part of the prevocational program for many years, where they worked on various mailing, packaging, and assembly projects for local businesses. Laurie and Lee also performed a duet of I Had a Little Dreidel during last year’s SHALOM’s Got Talent winter show.

Laurie retired from his job at SHALOM in 2016, but still goes there every weekday for the Arts and Community Explorations (ACE) interactive day program. It focuses on the whole person, with activities tailored to each participant’s needs and unique personality. The richness of different cultures is celebrated through crafts, foods, literature, history, and art.

He says, “Now that I’m retired, it’s fun to see everybody at SHALOM. When I arrive in the morning, they tell me to have a good day. At ACE we do activities, get out of the room, and see the good old outdoors.” As part of the ACE program, Laurie volunteers at the JFS food pantry. For many years, he volunteered every Friday in the JFS administrative offices to shred documents and he took pride in checking the group home mailbox.

Pledge of Alliegance with Speaker of the HouseThis past February, Laurie had the honor of leading the Pledge of Allegiance with the Speaker of the Colorado House, Crisanta Duran, on the floor of the House of Representatives at the State Capitol during Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day.

Thank you to Laurie for being such a big part of the JFS family and reminding us all to have fun, participate in as many activities as possible, treat people kindly, and see the good old outdoors as often as you can!