Calling Oak House home

HANCOCK — There’s a house in the Copper Country where people with development disabilities can get help with day-to-day activities. But for the people that live there, it’s simply home sweet home.

Welcome To Oak House! From this quiet street in Hancock, it looks like any residence in the neighborhood. But it’s the folks who live here that make this home special.

Oak House is place where those with mild developmental disabilities can learn basic life skills so they can take care of themselves.

“We teach the residents here the life skills they need to eventually move into to their own apartment,” Oak House Director Terry Sayatovich said. “We have a laundry program, we teach your hygiene, we teach cooking, we teach budgeting-whatever you and I would need to live out on our own.”

About ten residents live here at any given time. While they are here, they learn how to prepare meals and clean up after themselves, how to do their own laundry, and head off to work.

“They’ll probably give me meds (medications), and then they’ll probably give-then I’ll probably take a shower and then I’ll probably get ready for work and then I’m going to make my lunch and I’ll probably do my chores,” Oak House resident James Fricke said.

For many of the residents, living at Oak House is the first time in their lives that they have stayed away from home, learning to live on their own. The house has a small staff that looks after the folks here and helps them with their daily routine.

“I love it! The staff is so-great staff,” said Oak House residents Carla Gades. “They take care of me and it’s so friends, it makes me laugh.”

The goal is that these residents will one day have their own place. But until that time, they know they have a home and a family who loves them.

“I love it here,” Sayatovich said. “They become your family. It’s like a little community we have and the staff are great and we all just become real attached. We’re bonded, definitely.”

Oak House will be hosting a Fling Into Spring fundraiser at the Orpheum Theater in Hancock on May 16th, the proceeds will go to taking care of the residents of this little neighborhood home.