From the time he was very young, Brett, the youngest of four boys, wanted to be on his own. He was driven to do things by himself and had always been involved in the community. His mother, Chris, said those traits, along with his friendly personality, are how he earned his
nickname, “The Mayor”.
But he needed more than just motivation to be able to move out of his parent’s house. Brett needed help learning some of the necessary skills for finding a job and living independently, especially keeping organized and managing money. He worked with Matt, his community support professional, to develop tools for managing his life, including a binder filing system that keeps him on track. Now, Brett lives in his own apartment within easy driving distance from his job at Wegmans.
“My goal has always been to make sure he was not sheltered from the real world and that he knew how to be on his own and find his own
support systems,” said Chris, “I needed to know that, if anything happened to me, he would be fine. Thanks to the Arc, I know he can handle tough life situations and keep moving forward.”
Isn’t that what we all want in life?
When you meet Donnell, you find a gentle and charming young man who is up on what is happening around town and always ready to go out with friends. His smile is disarming and you could even describe him as peaceful.
But that sense of peace has taken some work. You see, Donnell has overcome some of life’s biggest hurdles including a kidney transplant and losing two people very close to him in a short amount of time. The emotions and stress were overwhelming and it was a difficult time for him.
Then he met Lauren, a clinical therapist at The Arc’s Health Services Clinic. Here, he found a safe place to heal. According to his stepfather, “She gave him the skills that make him better able to handle stress and stressful things.”
For more than 20 years, The Arc’s Health Services have offered physical and emotional healing specializing in the needs of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Our Article 16 outpatient clinic annually serves more than 700 people with varying needs from Western and Central New York.
According to Lauren, “Donnell is a bit of a miracle.” His family feels the same about the clinic.
Not everyone gets to have their dream job. But Amanda does and she will tell anyone who listens about how excited she is to work with her
co-workers and the people she serves at Seabury Woods.
She knew she was going to need help finding a job after high school. So, she enrolled in one of the Arc’s Project SEARCH® programs during her final year and spent her days in an intensive internship at the University of Rochester Medical Center. School-to-work transition rograms provide real world skills like working with money, communication, self-advocacy, punctuality, and interviewing for young adults ages 18-21. Amanda said, “I learned a lot, especially how to interact with people.”
When the internship ended, she worked with her Job Path employment specialist, Charis, to find a permanent job, ideally in food service and
helping senior citizens. So, the waitstaff position at Seabury Woods, an Episcopal SeniorLife Community, was a perfect fit. Charis continues meeting with Amanda as a job coach to make sure she understands her responsibilities and help her resolve any workplace issues. She hared, “When I visit Amanda at work, there is always laughter and fun. She continues to accept feedback and is always challenging herself to grow and get better.”
William Shakespeare once said, “The eyes are the window to your soul.”
For Annette, her eyes don’t just give you a glimmer into her spirited soul but new technology now allows her to tell you all about it.
“Annette was always great about making herself heard,” said her speech-language pathologist, “but, she began having more difficulty being understood, which was very frustrating since she is such a people person.” So, when Annette found out about new technology that allowed her to “speak” using a computer with touch and “eye-gaze” technology, she knew that was what she needed.
The Ballantyne Day Services staff did some research, tried out a few different models with her and decided on the one she uses today. Now, Annette simply guides another person’s hand or focuses on the screen and she can once again joke with staff, greet friends and tell you clearly which one of her favorite gospel songs she wants to hear. What a gift!
Cutting-edge technology is just one of the resources at The Arc that build bridges to mobility and communication independence. Our day
services provide individualized services and activities to meet the interests and abilities of all the people participating.
Finally, Annette’s voice can be heard and understood by everyone. No wonder she smiles a lot!
If enthusiasm and charisma can be exemplified in one person, it is Eric. He shares his pride in his ten year anniversary with Hurlbut Nursing Home, and his appreciation for Job Path at the Arc of Monroe County, which provided him with a Job Specialist, or as Eric calls her, “mentor” who helped prepare him for employment and is there for every step of the way. Whether it is to promote positive reinforcement and celebrate victories, or help out with every challenges, the Job Specialist forms a close relationship with the person the Arc supports to ensure success from everyone involved, including employee and employer.
“Eric, he’s one of a kind. He really is. He is high-energy. He loves what he does. He is very detailed. Anything you need to get done, he’ll get it done for you,” exclaims his supervisor, Mark at Hurlbut.