A young learning-disabled Londoner is off to America next week as the first Langdon Community resident to participate in a ground-breaking exchange initiative.
Ben Golden, 24, will travel to Boston with a carer from the charity, which helps Jews with learning difficulties with accommodation, employment and social issues. He will spend two weeks at the Justice Resource Institute — another supported-living community — working with its maintenance team.
The exchange programme is designed to give the learning disabled the opportunity to experience a foreign exchange placement. Among other organisations involved in the scheme is Nitzan, the Israeli Association for Children with Learning Disabilities.
Mr Golden is thrilled to be the first of Langdon’s 50-plus community residents in London and Manchester to take part. “Being chosen is like winning a gold medal at the Olympics,” he told the JC. It would be his first time in America and he was particularly excited about his VIP pass to a Boston Red Sox baseball game — “now that’s my type of fun”.
Langdon’s acting chief executive Beverley Kaye added: “We want all our residents to have the chance to experience this sort of initiative as it is important for them to go out to different countries and see other cultures. But it is difficult to raise money to fund these trips.” It costs up to £7,500 to send someone on the exchange.
Langdon hopes to send away five residents a year through the programme and is expecting to host a resident from the Boston organisation early in 2009.