You could say that Kevin Steitzer and Lindsey Renko-Steitzer met at the Living Resources’ College Experience, but that’s not technically true. They actually met prior to beginning the program – at their intake meeting.
They remember it like it was yesterday. Kevin had on a Nike blue sweatshirt and blue jeans and braces. Lindsey was wearing a Saint Rose T-shirt and a pair of jeans. Kevin glanced over to Lindsey who immediately caught his eye. After this first encounter, Kevin said to his parents, “One day I am going to date that woman.” By the following spring, that prediction came true. They met for pizza for their first date.
In addition to dating, Kevin and Lindsey both performed their fall semester internships at Albany Medical Center. They were both assigned the role of transporters – taking patients by wheelchair to their appointments and surgeries. They found it to be a fast-paced, character-building position. They each took separate spring internships – Lindsey at Madison Theatre where she helped serving beverages, making popcorn, and getting people candy, and Kevin interned in Niskayuna as an apprentice plumber. Through all their coursework requirements, internships and job positions, they managed to find time to build their relationship, which continued beyond graduation.
On a warm spring day seven years after their first meeting, Kevin proposed to Lindsey at a local park where they often walked. Lindsey asserts that she knew Kevin was going to propose because he asked to go and see the ducks. Lindsey asked him, “But didn’t we just see the ducks earlier today?” When Kevin inevitably got down on one knee to pop the question, a crowd of people gathered and applauded their profession of love. Kevin and Lindsey were married two years ago, exactly one year from the day they became engaged.
They moved to an apartment complex and held down jobs but were furloughed due to the COVID shutdown. Since then, Lindsey and Kevin maintain a tight social life, keeping their interactions limited to visiting their respective parents, but mostly keep to “just us.” Fortunately for them, “just us” includes the built in entertainment of Lindsey’s emotional support dog, a cairn terrier named Minnie which Lindsey got three years ago.
All this quality time has helped Kevin and Lindsey formulate a strategy for maintaining a healthy relationship. Lindsey says she is very honest with Kevin and does not keep secrets from him. If something is bothering Lindsey she tells Kevin right away. Kevin agrees, “Communication is huge. If we have a disagreement, we will get mad, but we know we love each other and that is never going to change.” Lindsey continued, “We laugh at each other and are very comfortable with each other. It is what makes our relationship so good.”
Any conversation about their love story eventually comes back around to the College Experience where it all began. Kevin asserted, “They teach a lot of important skills such as math, how to deposit a check, how to take the bus, and tips for food shopping so you do not pay too much.” He said they learned to cook for themselves, touting a great recipe for best roasted vegetables, ever! Lindsey says, “I would definitely recommend the College Experience because some people with disabilities could go to a regular college, but the College Experience is easier and they have one-on-one instruction for different subjects and you can take your time and if you need help they will help you.”
While Lindsey and Kevin both struggle with intellectual disabilities and supplemental challenges, with the help of Living Resources and The College Experience, this particular power couple have managed to build a happy life together. That’s all anyone can hope for.