The first time we met Jeries we were in the Arsenal office. The insertion manager told us that this 18-year-old boy with Down's Syndrome needed to start his journey with us immediately, because even if he was very followed by his family and had everything he needed, it was essential that he learn to relate outside family context.
When Jeries walks in with her mom and her sister throws herself around our manager's neck, he hugs her and kisses her. We are immediately struck by the way she reacts: she lets him do it, welcomes that hug that is theoretically not allowed and then calmly explains to Jeries that there are other ways to communicate your affection when you are at school or at work but that they would discover together.
We also remember well his mother's face the first time she saw him come back dusty and a little sweaty from the farming lesson ... her gaze said: "My son can do much more important things than agriculture, he doesn't. we bring back and forth from Amman every day to learn how to be a farmer ». We knew that Jeries' training path also passed from there and we did not give up, she accepted the challenge, also helped by the radiant smile of her son. A lot of patience, but also this mother's trust in the Arsenal, allowed Jeries to discover and learn to live "beyond" the warm nest of her family.
Last summer Jeries got a job at a restaurant company. We continued to follow him, even if a little more at a distance. With the latest lockdown, his work was interrupted for a few weeks and so we immediately proposed to him and his mother to participate regularly in remote meetings at the Arsenale. The happiness of seeing his companions again was indescribable! When Jeries got back to work two weeks ago, her mom called the head of the group of kids Jeries is part of and said, “Can I ask you for a gift? Even when Jeries is at work, can I still connect to the meetings you have? I realized that participating even before my son is good for me ». We give thanks because it is like this for us too: returning the gift of the community we have received before doing good to others is good for us.
Arsenal of the Encounter
NP December 2020