The MENTOR Network

Stories of our Mentors

Billy and John Wanted to Help

Ripple of Hope Winners

When Billy Chapman and John Acfalle were interviewed during the Mentor certification process with California MENTOR, one of the questions they were asked was, “Why do you want to be Mentors?” Their answer was simple: “We want to help someone help themselves.”

Mentors are caregivers who open their home to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities through the organization’s Host Home program and provide support to help each person thrive. For Charlie, an older gentleman diagnosed with autism who joined Billy and John in their Sacramento home in 2008, life has never been better.

“Charlie’s grown immensely since coming to Billy and John’s home,” said Sara Spencer, a program manager with California MENTOR. “I see a calmness in him that wasn’t there before. He’s making tremendous strides with his social skills.”

Focused on Personal Choice

Billy and John are consistently willing to adapt to Charlie’s needs and wants, allowing him to make his own life choices. Charlie loves visiting new places, but didn’t enjoy long rides in the car. To solve this dilemma, Billy and John purchased an RV so that Charlie could travel in comfort and together they have traveled to many places, including the Grand Canyon and Sonoma, California to visit family.

“We knew that, at this point in our lives, we had the patience and understanding to open our home,” Billy said. “We allow Charlie to be himself, and that’s made a world of difference to him.”

“As Mentors, we know we’re not alone,” Billy said. “We want to provide love and care, but we also know when to reach out for help. California MENTOR gives us that help. They give us everything we could possibly need in terms of support.”