Katie Iampietro, Host Family Program, Community Living Burlington: Community Living Burlington’s Host Family program promotes nurturing and inclusiveness in a typical family household.

Ashley had a difficult past. She couldn’t find maybe the right family situation that she was looking for – someone to fully support her and care for her the way that she wanted to be. So coming into the Host Family program, she has made so many gains.

Lesley Stewart, Host Family Provider: She seemed almost frightened. Very shy, childlike, quiet.

She’s now a lot more outgoing.

I think the biggest thing is Ashley’s never experienced a stable family. Ashley just likes to be a part of a family and she feels wanted and just a valued part of our family.

Ashley Higgins: I like to hang out with my mom and dad. We like to watch movies, go for walks – we take puppy.

Sometimes we bake. And I help her make shepherd’s pie and tacos too. She’s helped me learn how to take care of myself to work at Cineplex.

I now know what having a mom and dad is like and I know what it’s like to be a part of a family and be loved and wanted – it’s awesome.

They’ve taught me so much and they’ve even taught me how to love.

Katie Iampietro: They’re able to share their home with a wonderful person who has a developmental disability.

They’re making a difference in someone’s life who might not have had that opportunity.

The love and respect and support that they have for each other is incredible to see.