In helping CRJ’s clients grasp a better understanding of the world around them, CRJ staff encourage our clients to embark on an exploratory trip, big or small, to learn about what goes on in life beyond the residential programs.

David Prioa, of Wrentham, had the opportunity in February to visit our nation’s capital.

David had first expressed interest in taking a trip outside of New England when he met with his service coordinator from the Department of Developmental Services early last year. He hadn’t decided on a destination, but was open to suggestions from staff, family, and peers. He got the idea about going to Washington D.C. while talking with staff members, who thought it might be a good idea to learn some of our country’s history.  David said that he always had interest in visiting big cities like New York and Washington.

David had developed some criteria to meet in order to make his trip successful. First, he wanted to visit museums and other historical attractions. Second, he wanted a chance to have fun and go to a professional sports game. Finally, he wanted to have a chance to bond with staff outside of the group home. In order to help David achieve his goals while visiting Washington, staff encouraged David to step out of his comfort zone and experience and learn more about the world.

We flew from Boston to Ronald Reagan National Airport early on Feb. 7. While in Washington, we were busy visiting numerous historical sites and museums. With sunny weather and the temperature in the 70s, enjoyed being outside for much of the trip. We used the Metro subway to get around the city. David noticed that the subway is a fast-paced environment but he was able to adapt to it with little difficulty.

David and I visited the National Mall to see the Washington Monument, World War II Memorial, as well as the Lincoln Memorial. David, who has family members who served in the military during wartime, particularly enjoyed the World War II Memorial. With the presidential election only a few weeks before, we couldn’t pass up a chance to take a peek at the White House and U.S. Capitol building.

David’s biggest pleasure was visiting the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. He enjoyed checking out vintage spaceships, military aircraft, and the early planes developed by the Wright Brothers. At night, we attended a NHL game at the Verizon Center with the Washington Capitals playing the Carolina Hurricanes. He cheered the Capitals on to an exciting 5-0 win over the Hurricanes.

David returned home in Wrentham the next day and processed the trip with staff. He said he had a great time visiting our nation’s capital and that he’s looking forward to future trips with staff. I also enjoyed the trip as well, as it was a chance to create teaching moments outside of the group home in Wrentham.