Once in a lifetime you might meet someone like Anne Galasso. Anne runs a special needs adult home in our area. She works with four adults and is responsible for them all the time. She gets breaks every now and again to take the occasional nap, go to family events, or go shop on her own, but her entire focus is setting up a world that enriches every life in her home.
When Anne moved into the house, it was a nice place, fairly new, set up for the special needs of the residents, but after Anne came into the picture, this house became a home. Anne put her special touches everywhere. She brought in many of her personal belongings to give it personality and beauty. The home is decorated with antiques, whimsical detail, plants, artwork and style. I feel so welcome and happy when I have entered the premises. The exterior of the home is tidy and full of flowers, plants, water features, beautiful yard art and furniture, all the extra touches that make her a favorite in the neighborhood.
Being a mother of a special needs adult, I know how difficult it is to find the right people to work around your precious individual. They are all so unique and have needs that may be difficult to fill, so the decision of who works with them is vital. Most of the time we have been very fortunate, but when something goes seriously wrong, it is blatantly obvious how important this person is.
Anne treats every person she works with respectfully. She also expects them to reach higher potential. I directed a choir with the special population, and afterward picked up some donations she had for me for Hopelink. As soon as we walked in the door, all the house members did their responsibilities, cleaned up the kitchen without being asked, got ready for bed, shared a special treat, and talked about what would happen the next day. The feeling in the home is one of organization, happiness and joy.
Anne surprised them one Christmas with a media room, which is used on a regular basis. She decorates each room with the individual’s personality in mind, with trains, flowers, colors of interest, whatever would make the resident feel like this is their individualized place on earth.
When we went to the storage area, I commented on the two personal watercraft stored there. Anne bought these with her own personal funds, and bought an extra parking pass to allow others to participate with them in this fun recreational activity. She used the media room to help them all pass the boater’s license, and the ones who could do it, got certified. Everyone follows the rules, the laws and gets to work on time.
I told Anne that she is a gift to the community, that the world would be a better place if others cared as much as she did. I hope someday she gets rewarded in the way she deserves, setting up a model for greatness but for now, this is my way of thanking her for being a hero to those who cannot fend for themselves the same way.
Sure, it’s clean, yes, the rules are being obeyed, but this is not just a safe place, this is a place where all are treated with the same care any loving parent would provide for their child. Anne Galasso, know you are appreciated.
Amy McOmber is a 23-year resident of Sammamish.