Guest Post: Changing Lives Through Mosaic at Home

Curtis works with a person he supports at the gym.

My name is Curtis Burrage, and it is indeed a privilege and honor to speak with you about my personal experience, being an Extended Family Host Home provider to two exceptional young men.

In order to care for individuals with disabilities on a full-time basis, a person must possess an assortment of characteristics and qualities. Some of these qualities include stability, structure, great organizational skills, patience, patience and more patience and, above all else, love. God has blessed me to inherit these qualities and many others from a wonderful father and my loving mother who passed away four years ago.

Unbeknownst to me, God was preparing me to be a Mosaic at Home provider because when I was in my early twenties, I was married and immediately inherited three beautiful children who I raised and cared for even to this day as my own. During that time, I learned what having patience, responsibility and unconditional love was all about. My wife at that time, was the one who introduced me to the field of caring for individuals with disabilities, which has now been going on for 20 plus years and counting. I started out working in their homes, working in their workshops, working day hours, night hours, overnights and now inviting them to be a part of my home and a part of my family.

I wanted to experience every aspect of the job that I could and shortly after deciding to be a Mosaic at Home provider, Dean came into my life and has now been a part of my family for more than eleven years. Austin has been a part of my family for about two-and-a-half years now.

Mosaic asked me to pick a few examples of my adventures with Dean and Austin and one that sticks out in my mind was a family trip we took to Disneyworld in Florida. I will never forget the look on Dean’s face as we taxied off of the runway, on his very first plane ride or Austin screaming loudly with a few choice, not so Christian words, as we sped down the hill on Splash Mountain.

Also, there was an example of being on your own, if only for a night. Austin was on a flight to visit parents in Ohio and he got stuck in a layover in Chicago overnight. He was there by himself with no supervision until morning, but he made it through in good spirits and made it to his parents that next morning.

I would like to think that maybe some of the exercises we would go over, about safety and survival techniques made him calmer and helped him a little. His parents and I were the ones who were a wreck. It’s those moments, that make the meetings, programs, cooking, cleaning, doctors’ visits, long days and sometimes sleepless nights, all worthwhile.

Just knowing that I’m making a difference, and as long as I continue to feel that way, I will continue to work for them as long as God allows me to.

In my eyes, working with Dean and Austin is not just a job. They are my extended family. We live together, eat together, worship together, take family vacations together, respect and love each other.

Being a Mosaic at Home provider can be challenging at times, of course, but what family does not have its challenges? I am thankful and could not succeed unless I had the support Dean’s and Austin’s family, Mosaic, as well as my children, who share their father and also my extended family and friends. I am also grateful, that I get to share this life with the backbone, breath of fresh air, and support system of my beautiful newlywed wife and my two new children.

God truly knows what you need, and without her help, I couldn’t help people, support, participate in functions, attend meetings or have any type of normalcy in my everyday life. She is truly a blessing.

Watching these young men work, learn and live their lives with hopes of one day being able to live life as independently as possible, makes this job all worthwhile. Hopefully, I have helped to change their lives, just a little, for the better, because it has truly changed my life for the better as well. Thank you for allowing me to share just a few snapshots of my life as a Mosaic a Home provider.

The preceding post is the personal story of Mosaic at Home Provider Curtis Burrage. Curtis shared this story at Mosaic in Omaha‘s latest Partners in Possibilities luncheon, which gathers community members together to learn about and invest in Mosaic’s mission.

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