"UMAR was a lifeline for our family."

Dear Friend of UMAR,

If you couldn’t join us for our 2022 Charlotte Friends of UMAR Luncheon in April, you missed a powerful story of family, love, and perseverance. Speaking before an audience of dozens of UMAR donors and supporters, sisters Rosemary and Antoinette told the story of their brother Sal’s journey to find a place of acceptance, safety, and independence.
Sal, the oldest of the Bianchi siblings, was born with an intellectual and developmental disability. His parents, Mary and Sal, had an unwavering sense of responsibility to provide for Sal’s care, often sharing that “God entrusted him to us.”

The Bianchis strived to find the best opportunities for Sal to learn and grow. With so many obstacles facing him, finding the right school was one way the Bianchis could feel confident Sal was getting the care and attention he deserved. In 1963, the family moved from Brooklyn to Plainview, NY so Sal could attend a school with an integrated program for individuals with special needs. It was a perfect fit and Sal thrived at the school.
“When you love someone with an intellectual and developmental disability, the world can be a place filled with sharp edges. We are forever trying to find ways to smooth them out along the way. Finding the right schools for Sal was a concrete way that Mom and Dad could smooth out some of those edges,” Rosemary said. 
As the Bianchis got older, they were faced with the reality that one day they would not be able to care for Sal on their own. They wanted Sal to make a life of his own and be as independent as possible. After a bad experience with a County Group Home, the Bianchis were leery about the group home experience, but their worries were assuaged when they found UMAR.

In 2005, Sal moved into Hall Home in Charlotte where he didn’t just simply exist, he thrived!
“Mom and Dad’s vision for him having a good, independent life came to be,” Antoinette said. “He made friends. He moved out and about within the community. He joined Circle of Friends, attended Camp Soar, went to Sunday school, had a gym membership, ziplined at Camp Tacoa, and even went to Disney World with his housemates!”
Through the support of UMAR, Sal has grown in his independence. He does his own laundry, prepares meals, and contributes to household chores. Seeing Sal prosper at Hall Home gave the Bianchis a sense of peace in that they finally found the best for him.

“So many of life’s edges were smoothed out by UMAR,” Rosemary said.
Before they passed, Mary and Sal Bianchi were able to see their dreams for their son come true. “They left this world knowing that he wouldn’t just be ok after they were gone, but that he would continue to life his best life," Antoinette said. "UMAR loved and supported him through out family’s grief… and he is encouraged each day not to just live, but to thrive."

“UMAR was a lifeline for our family. By choosing UMAR for Sal, Mom and Dad gave Antoinette and I peace of mind, too, knowing that our brother has a full, wonderful, independent life.”

~ ~ ~

If you want to support Sal and others like him, a donation to UMAR today can help us continue providing the highest quality programs and services that allow our participants to LIVE, WORK, and THRIVE. Your donation will help smooth out the edges in the lives of hundreds of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout Western North Carolina. Help make a difference today.

UMAR is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit on a mission to promote community inclusion, independence, and growth for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities through residential, vocations, and cultural enrichment opportunities. All contributions are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Financial information about this organization and a copy of its license are available from the State Solicitation Licensing Branch at 919.814.5400. The license is not an endorsement by the State.