We all know someone like Nancy …… a sweet lady with a smiling face, robust laugh and a twinkle in her eyes as she heads into the local mall. Pure and simple joy written all over her face at the prospect of indulging in her favorite pastime… Shopping! However, ten years ago you would not have recognized Nancy as the same woman you see today.
Nancy came to Dawn of Hope in 1999, a strong, independent woman, confined to a wheelchair, who suffered from a seizure disorder and a progressive neurodegenerative disease that left her weak, frustrated, angry, and depressed. She responded to these overwhelming emotions through verbal outbursts and physical aggression towards those around her. She wanted to participate in the Vocational Program however, these behaviors created an environment in which her co workers were fearful of her. Nancy decided to resign from the Vocational Program and participate solely in the Supported Living Residential Program. It was there where Nancy turned a corner.
The Residential Staff were able to dedicate one-on-one time with Nancy; understanding her wants & desires, providing physical & emotional support, and exploring the triggers which resulted in aggressive behavior. Through this individualized care, Nancy and Staff began to build a relationship based on mutual understanding and trust. As she became more comfortable with her staff she also became more receptive to changing her behavior so that she could re-enter the workforce. In this type of customized living environment, Nancy was safe to develop and grow emotionally. The staff encouraged Nancy to focus on verbalizing her frustrations appropriately and assisted her in developing better ways to interact with others. Nancy and her staff would visit local businesses & parks to interact with members of the community to provide opportunities to utilize her new skills. Nancy began to learn that she was not limited by her physical ailments. As Nancy’s self-confidence increased, her frustrations and anger began to dissipate. By 2014 Nancy had completely transformed. She returned to the Vocational Program where she was able to earn an income while learning skills sets she would need to gain employment in the community. She began to develop friendships with her co-workers and housemates. Her shopping trips became precious time to enjoy her community rather than an anxiety filled event. As her confidence continued to grow it solidified the positive growth path she was on and she loved the place it was taking her.
Today, Nancy continues to participating in both the Vocational & Residential Programs, and with the help of her job coach in the Vocational Program, actively seeking employment in the community. When she is not working she enjoys shopping trips, manicures and spending time with her friends. The supportive, dedicated staffs members were crucial in meeting the specific needs of Nancy however, Nancy’s strong will and determination aided her in overcoming these monumental obstacles and becoming the amazing woman she is today.
Nancy’s story is just one example – there are so many more men and women who participate in Dawn of Hope Programs that YOU can help – GIVE TODAY!