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Exceeding Expectations

To the customers at McDonald’s, Chris was the friendly, reliable employee who greeted them with a broad smile and a hearty “Hi!” and never missed a day of work. The store manager considered him the best – a “real asset”. For 31 years he loved his job, taking great pride in sweeping floors and cleaning tables.

That’s a far cry from Chris’s grim medical evaluation in 1975 at the age of six. His delayed development was the result of a brain injury at birth. Despite being told that he would never read, graduate high school, or have a job, the Spaulding family determined that all opportunities would remain on the table.

Chris exceeded expectations in a big way! He learned to read, graduated from high school, excelled at his job, and – as all who know him will attest – Chris is also very verbal! He loves to discuss cars and all sports, and enthusiastically cheers for the FSU Seminoles, his favorite team.

In his early 20s, Chris had expressed a desire to live independently. The family resided in Tampa, so a couple of group homes were put to the test. However, his parents continued to search for that loving and safe environment in which he would thrive and continue to grow. Upon learning about L’Arche, the Spauldings turned their attention to the possibility of a good fit for Chris at L’Arche Jacksonville.

In 2014 Chris was welcomed to L’Arche and now shares life in Nouwen House. He has “retired” from McDonald’s and attends the L’Arche Rainbow Workshop where he happily taps into his creativity, learning to paint, and eagerly shares his latest painting experience with everyone! He’s excited that his parents relocated to the Jacksonville area in 2022 making visits and volunteering a lot more convenient.