"I was just really lost without him and I enjoy taking care of people with developmental disabilities. It's just a rewarding, fulfilling thing to do," said Susanne Smith of East Penn Township.
Smith spent a lot of her life caring for her brother with Down syndrome. When he passed away, she knew she wanted to continue caring for those with similar disabilities.
"They become your family and it's better than just having them in an institution," said Smith.
She got involved with the C.A.R.E.S. Lifesharing program, and met Fred and Wayne Smith.
"We all fell in love with each other... we have the same name!!" said Susanne Smith.
The pair now lives with Susanne inside her East Penn Township home. They're two of the 51 individuals across our region who have been placed in supportive families.
"Lifesharing gives the individuals a chance to live in a home and experience what we call an everyday life," said Sarah Wentz, director of lifesharing at C.A.R.E.S.
Wayne loves watching TV and Fred loves playing his guitar. They're both contributing members of the family.
"These guys even started doing their own laundry now," said Smith.
C.A.R.E.S. is looking for more families to become lifesharing providers.
"We'll actually match you with an individual who meets the needs of your home and you meet their needs," said Wentz.
Lionel Rodriguez is another individual who lives with a lifesharing provider in Allentown. It's an experience he says has changed his life for the better.
"You're giving that little bit of hope when they didn't have hope at all, you gave them that hope like 'wow I can understand, I can have a second chance at life,'" said Rodriguez.
If you want to get involved with the lifesharing program, you can call the C.A.R.E.S. office in Tamaqua at 570-225-7360.