David's Story


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Community Living Arrangments

Verland currently operates 45 homes.  Individuals living in our homes have needs for significant support in all areas of development

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For The Love of David

The pain felt by parents, vicariously through their children, is considered by most experts to be unequaled. All the good and bad that one's child experiences are amplified on a personal level that was previously unimaginable.

Thus, it is understandable that Carol Mitchell, a compassionate and capable woman in the late 1960's was galvanized to action as she developed a deep maternal love for an eight year-old boy living at the state institution where she worked.

Carol found in David's challenges, indignities, and God-given rights an inescapable call to action. In essence, she discovered a new kind of love through David Tresch, and in the process discovered her own path.

Carol Mitchell was eager to start her first post-high school job at a mental health residential facility in Western Pennsylvania.

Institutional Abuse

In 1963, housing facilities for patients with mental retardation consisted of bare subsistence, abusive conditions, and meager funding.  David, the object of Carol's compassion, had been institutionalized since the age of three. As a new employee first encountering him five years later, Carol was shocked to see this beautiful little blue-eyed boy tied to a chair.

In her youthful enthusiasm, Carol untied David and immediately discovered the reason for his restraints. David began to beat himself violently, striking his fragile face until it was a mass of bruises.

David was subject to uncontrollable outbursts which caused him to batter himself, and Carol's heart ached for this little boy who could not express the fury that raged inside him.

Over the next several years, David assumed greater personal importance in Carol's life, becoming a beloved "son" to her as she painstakingly helped him to overcome his self-abuse.

Ultimately, it was their loving, reciprocal relationship that spawned Carol's quest for broader understanding and respect for all persons with profound intellectual disability.

Meeting Carol & Theo

To this day, Carol believes that God sent her to David, for it was his "torture turned to trust" that led her to accept God in a more personal and inclusive way.

Along their often arduous path, David's plight brought Carol and Theo Hanzel together. It was then through Theo's friendship with Nancy Chalfant, that the three became acquainted.

The seemingly unrelated forces and all the essential elements were coming together to create the necessary atmosphere and components for the realization of the progressive dream that would develop into Verland.