Family Turns To Tiny House For Son With Down Syndrome
LONGMONT, Colo. — Seth Truitt has asked his parents Marla and Joe Truitt for a space of his own ever since he turned 18 over ten years ago, but they have been hesitant to let him stray too far from their watchful gaze because he has Down syndrome.
However, once they bought a new home on fives acres of land on the edge of Firestone, they finally figured out a compromise. By building a tiny house on their property, Seth Truitt could gain the independence he so desperately seeks while his parents could still keep an eye on him.
“Wanting some independence from your parents is a natural part of growing up no matter who you are,” Joe Truitt said. “For a long time we didn’t know what that would look like for Seth, but we always felt like he would live with us, so we’re really excited about this.”
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Though the house would only be 360 square feet, it would include a washer and dryer, a small kitchen, a bathroom, a living room, a bedroom and a lofted bed for his friends to sleep over.
While Seth Truitt is excited about taking on the responsibility of doing chores around the house, more than anything the house would simply be a space where he could be by himself and watch sports or lead his imaginary Christian Rock concerts without being bothered by his 9-year old sister, Alisha, who the Truitts adopted in 2013, and her 6-year old brother Kaden, who Marla Truitt’s sister, Misti Tarnowski, adopted at the same time.
“I need to get away from the kids,” Seth Truitt said through his trademark grin. “One day I want to have my own car, get married and have kids.”
Building the joy house, as his mom calls it, would be a huge step towards making that dream a reality.
“There’s so much more people with special needs can do with a little help,” she said. “We just want to make the best and safest possible place for him so he doesn’t miss out as he becomes an adult and maybe some other family can use it as a model for their own special needs kids.”
With designs for the joy house complete, the next hurdle is figuring out how to finance the project.
Thanks to Joe Truitt’s construction expertise as a contractor with Mishler Construction, the family estimate it will take $40,000 to construct and fully furnish the home. But, having just bought their house in Longmont three years ago, they don’t have that kind of cash sitting around, so they’re asking the community to help out.
“We’re hoping we can get some companies to donate supplies and have a bunch of volunteers come over for a big work day, but we can’t do that until we get some money raised,” Marla Truitt said. “People can do whatever they feel comfortable with; we’ll have a big barbecue and just celebrate this community.”
Though they only initiated the fundraising campaign two weeks ago, the family already has raised $1,500 and several people have reached out asking how they could help.
Matt Tarka, who got to know Seth Truitt’s family through connections at their respective churches, signed up as soon as he heard about the project.
“The first thing that struck me about Seth was that he’s a real genuine person with such a tender and open heart for people,” he said. “He just wants to help and be a part of people’s lives. He wants to contribute to whatever community he’s a part of and doesn’t stand back in the shadows or let his disability interfere with life. How fun would it be to help a young man like that fulfill a dream? Let’s get 20 or 40 people and get this built.”
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