Home again, thanks to agency

Sean Kaul, who is severely disabled and lost his parents Tim and Susan to cancer, is living in the house he grew up in because of an effort led by Balance Inc.

RHONDA FARVER, director of supported housing operations for Balance Inc., stood next to Sean Kaul in his Town of Grafton home, which was purchased by the social services agency in June. Kaul’s parents Tim and Susan died several years ago of cancer. Caregivers are supporting Kaul and his two roommates, who also have developmental disabilities, at the house. Photo by Sam Arendt
By 
JOE POIRIER
Ozaukee Press staff

Sean Kaul is back home again.

Sean, whose parents Tim and Susan Kaul died of cancer several years ago, is blind and severely disabled and can’t live on his own.

Although his parents left their Town of Grafton home to him, the 22-year-old needed help. So after he graduated from high school at the Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Madison, his family went on the hunt for the right solution.

They found it in Balance Inc. of Grafton, which has purchased the Kaul log cabin house on Ulao Parkway South and is turning it into a permanent home for Sean and two other physically and developmentally disabled young adults.

Rhonda Farver, director of supported housing operations for Balance, said it was an effort supported by everyone.

“When we started to talk to folks in the county and Grafton, everyone bent over backwards from the dogcatcher to the town planner. They would say, ‘We know this family and we know Sean’s story,’ she said. 

“This is such a heartwarming opportunity to bring all of these partners together.”   

Balance will celebrate the opening of the Kaul house on Wednesday, Aug. 22. It’s the group’s ninth home in the county.

Tim Kaul, a supervisor for Ozaukee County and Town of Grafton, died of cancer in 2012. Several years later his wife also succumbed to cancer. 

“I can only imagine after Tim died how Susan must have felt, and then for her to become ill and wonder what will happen to Sean,” said Karen Cohen, director of communication and development for Balance.

Balance bought the property in June and has since updated the home with wider doorways, accessible bathrooms, new flooring and a second wheelchair ramp to the back entrance.

The three acres of farmland, known as the Lake Winds Elk Farm, is in a conservation easement with Ozaukee Land Trust and cannot be developed.

Cohen said Balance will be a steward of the land. The organization wants to preserve the Kaul family’s rich heritage on the farm.

“We promised the county we wouldn’t do anything to the land, but we are looking for a prospective Eagle Scout who would like to build a gazebo for a project,” Cohen said.

Balance’s goal is to place individuals with similar needs together to create meaningful friendships and a nuclear family, Cohen said. 

“My daughter has been sparkling ever since she moved here,” Tom Johnson, whose daughter Jessi moved into the Kaul house a couple weeks ago, said. “She loves seeing the elk and deer, and my wife bought a salt lick for the farm the other day. More people need to know more about this place.”

Balance has three other homes in Grafton, two in Saukville and three in Port Washington. The organization also provides day-care services and community volunteer programs for about 90 individuals. 

“It’s important to have them out in the community,” Farver said. “We’re a community asset because not only do we participate in the community, we also believe in giving back to the community. Volunteering is a big part of our program.”

The organization is seeking more volunteers so it can serve more people.

“We have a waiting list for many individuals and we don’t want to dilute our services,” Cohen said.

The organization is also in need of grants and donations to support its homes and to purchase a new van for the Kaul property.

“The homes are like any other homes. They require care and maintenance like new windows or a dishwasher,” Farver said. “We try to get a lot of it through in-kind donations, but there are some things you can’t get for nothing.”

For more information about Balance’s services or to offer support, visit www.balanceinc.org.

“We want individuals to be able to stay in their home forever,” Cohen said. “As their needs or level of medical acuity increase, it’s our responsibility to put them in a home that provides a proper setting while giving them as much independence as possible.”

 

Feedback:

Click Here to Send a Letter to the Editor

Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494
 

CONNECT


User login