Why one family donated $250,000 to FREE and how you can help!

June 23, 2020 | News


The Goldin’s have been members of the FREE family for more than 21 years. As FREE supports their son, Brian, their family has always been active and supportive of FREE’s ongoing efforts of excellence in helping people of all abilities realize their full potential. During the course of the COVID-19 crisis, Brian became ill and tested positive for the coronavirus; causing the intense worry that any parent with a sick child that they could not be with would have. Fortunately, Brian’s case was mild and more fortunately, he was under the close, personal care of FREE’s dedicated staff who comforted and cared for him around the clock. The Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) have been FREE’s superheroes during this time, many quarantining in the homes of people we support to help stop the spread of the virus, as they did in Brian’s case.


The Goldin’s have now taken their own heroic step of offering their generous support. Now through Labor Day your generosity has become twice as important as every dollar raised will be matched by the Goldin’s up to $250,000!


Please join this incredible effort to Double Up for FREE and donate today! To learn more about how the funds are helping FREE visit: https://give.classy.org/doubleupFREE.



To learn more about the Goldin’s and their experience with FREE during Brian’s illness read their story below:


The Stoothoff IRA has always been a special and amazing place.  The families, with loose previous connections to one another, came together in the early 1990’s to work on developing a group home for our sons as a “parent project” based on the formation of the Westbury home that had come before it.  FREE was behind us all the way and after many delays and setbacks, it opened in December 1999.  Now in its 21st year, Stoothoff continues on with the same 6 men and families. They have all thrived in this environment and are proud to call Stoothoff their home.


Weeks ago, as the coronavirus was exploding all around us as a health and social distancing crisis, our son Brian became ill. At that time, when it was close to impossible to get a Coronavirus test, the nurse in the residence was able to both locate a location nearby and a commitment to get Brian tested.  Brian, who can be very oppositional, initially refused to be tested.  Eventually, he was coaxed into the van with two staffers and got the test done.  Five days later we were horrified to learn that his test had come back positive.  Stoothoff was on strict quarantine and Brian confined to his bedroom to sleep, eat meals and keep busy somehow.


Stoothoff is not set up with any kind of staff bedroom.  All staff, even the overnights, come and go in rotating shifts and are expected to be awake and alert to assist the residents.  Brian’s positive test presented new challenges.  Stepping up to meet that challenge were Kait and Chris who brought their toothbrushes and some clothing and, sleeping on couches, moved in for the week.  They did this knowing in advance that a resident was positive for the virus and they came anyway.  They deep cleaned and sanitized the house.  They monitored everyone’s temperature and watched for signs of illness.  They kept everyone calm.  It is no exaggeration to say that these two staffers were beyond terrific.


The need for our son to be confined to his room was among the most frightening aspects of the ordeal for us.  We were worried that without television in his room, Brian would be behavioral.  Kait provided a book for Brian, which held his attention while. At the suggestion of his brother and sister-in-law, we got him an iPad for TV, Facetime, music, games etc.  During this week we called several times a day to check on Brian.  Kait and Chris always answered the phone cheerfully and answered our questions.  They helped Brian learn how to use the iPad.  (Shoutout to PC Richards for having what we wanted in stock and for curbside pickup.)  Brian’s illness was fortunately very mild and he fully recovered within the week.


There is no really good way to thank all the DSPs who have put themselves on the line.  We told Kait and Chris repeatedly how much we appreciated them and how grateful we are that there was a need and they met it.  We sent over dinner.  But somehow these gestures of ours alone aren’t enough.


In times of upheaval and crisis, there are unsung heroes who come forward and demonstrate exemplary character in going above and beyond. Kait and Chris are two such individuals. We are forever grateful to them.


– Steve and Marge Goldin