When we think of Nashville, Tennessee the first thing which comes to mind is usually country music.
But one Coleraine man is experiencing a very different country way of life in the famous Amreican state.
Rowan Millar made the move to the States way back in 2000 to set up a new life and he hasn’t looked back.
But it is the impact he is making on the lives of certain residents of mid-Tennessee which is making the headlines.
In 2008 Rowan set up MillarRich with Susan Richardson. MillarRich specialises in providing Family Model Residential Services to individuals with intellectual disabilities.
They believe that matching individuals with families that have similar interests will help ensure a good quality of life and long-lasting relationships. The success of the model developed by MillarRich is very much dependent upon the wonderful Family Teachers and the talented administrative group. One reason for our success is that the foundation of the model is built on a family developing positive relationships with the individual(s) living in their home.
Disabled adults that are able to live in a home enjoy independence, but they can also count on someone to give them support as and when they need it.
“Our primary service is residential in the family model setting,” he explained.
“Unfortunately there is a waiting list of over 7,000 people in Tennessee to receive services.
“Those services can be anything from residential, day services, support and employment services or personal assistance services.
“This model works because we are able to provide a consistent model of care 24 hours a day. We are now providing services for 79 individual across 57 homes throughout all of middle Tennessee.
“We are helping people with disabilities lead better lives.”
One of their main projects was the setting up of a farm to help provide employment for the adults.
The farm is having a real positive impact on those working on it as Rowan explained.
“We have about one acre of the Old School Farm planted at the minute. We hired two farm managers who are in charge of organising everything and planting it.
“They supervise one of our farm hands, Josh. He works here three days a week, but we don’t provide residential services for him as he still lives at home with his mum.
“Josh actually has a job coach who works with him as well teaching to become more independent on the job. He loves working here
“Over the winter it was difficult because it was still very barren and there was no growth, but when we got to the harvest I saw a huge difference in Josh. He didn’t want to go home, he wanted to stay on as we were having so much fun.”
MillarRich provides a special service to those in need and with the help of their all-star staff they are hoping to increase the quality of life for people with disabilities all over Tennessee.
“We are now providing services for 79 individual across 57 homes throughout all of middle Tennesse,” said Rowan.
“We have accomplished a lot in a short time and I think that speaks volumes of the people we have on our team, I know everyone really enjoys what they do and the differences they make to individuals lives on a daily basis.
“We have witnessed many great moments so far and for me I’m very proud of where we are right now, we continue to grow monthly and help more and more great people and their families.
“It’s so rewarding, not only the work we do but the great people we meet all the time and their stories, its a real positive experience when you can make people smile when many of them have had to overcome so much in their lives.
“Helping others is something that was installed in me at a young age and the great thing is we get so many people wanting to get involved and volunteer their time which still proves there is still so much good out there.
“Asfar as the future goes I would really like to go watch Northern Ireland in France 2016 but thats out of my hands! As far as our program here in Nashville and Tennessee, we will continue to grow the program and at the same time ensure we keep the quality of service.
“With all the changes in the business and technology world we are always looking to improve what we are currently doing and introduce new and innovative ways to support the men, woman and children in our program. Personally we have some family coming over this summer so I will begin preparing Nashville for that experience! I always have a lot of pride of where I come from and I think it has paid a big part in how my life has turned out. I still have all my family and a good few friends back home and I always look forward to a trip back.”