The Sherrys, Linda (left) and Bob (right) are serving as a host family to Karsen Kedzior as he works on developing the skills he needs to live more independently through the HOM program. (Amy Alonzo/Copyright 2003, The Union Democrat).
By ABBY SOUZA
Karsen Kedzior wakes up most days at 7 a.m. He pulls back his animal-print comforter and crawls out of bed.
Across the hall is his bathroom, where he showers and gets ready for work with WATCH Works, a work program in which he does landscaping projects or is on the Wal-Mart cart crew.
Kedzior, 28, packs his lunch for the day in a green sack with "Karsen K." written on the front in permanent marker.
Jeff usually comes into the kitchen around this time. The brown-and-white Irish setter gets a pat from Kedzior as he calls Dial-A-Ride to take him to work.
But this isn't Kedzior's house it belongs to Linda and Robert Sherry, who retired to Sonora.
The Sherrys are no relation to Kedzior, and wouldn't have known one another if they passed on the street eight months ago.
But now, Kedzior, who is developmentally disabled, and the Sherrys live together in the couple's Phoenix Lake home.
The Housing Opportunities Match program pairs developmentally disabled adults with host families so they can share living quarters, daily duties and companionship.
"It's great for people who have lived with their families but would like to be more independent, but still have round-the-clock companionship," said Margaret Schulz, assistant director of the HOM program.
The program is a service of WATCH Resources Inc., which provides support and assistance with the goal of independence and community integration for people with developmental disabilities in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties.
The program began in 1998 and was the fourth of its kind in the state. Five developmentally disabled adults are paired with families in Tuolumne County and one in Calaveras County.
Kedzior has lived with the Sherrys since December.
"It's working perfect," Kedzior said. "I just need to get more motivated around the house doing chores."