Spreading Her Wings

You could say Allison is something of a Dr. Doolittle. After all, “Animals like me,” she readily admits.

But the 23-year-old is awfully popular with people, too, just ask her supervisor at Boone County Family Resources, where she is receiving life skills and vocational training through the agency’s Life and Work Connections program. The idea is to prepare Allison for a life that is as self-sufficient and fulfilling as possible. Part of her education involves on-the-job training with BCFR’s janitorial crew.

“Allison is extremely reliable and one of the quickest learners I have worked with on the crew,” said Justin Wann, Supported Living Assistant and Janitorial Crew Supervisor.

One of the biggest changes Wann has seen in Allison is her growing confidence – and she has a plenty to be proud of.

Since moving out of her mother’s home in November 2010, Allison, who has mild mental retardation and Down syndrome, has made great strides. At first, Allison wasn’t sure what to expect when she moved into an apartment with her sister and black Labrador, Lady. The move was life-changing and not the easiest transition, but still, Allison took solace in Lady’s reaction to the change.

“I wasn’t sure about living on my own,” she said. “But when I saw that Lady had accepted the apartment as home, I did too.” 

Allison was also assisted by her Community Skills Specialist, Jamie Short, who worked with her on budgeting, cleaning, shopping, organization and other tasks associated with independent living. Now Allison manages her budget, shops for groceries stays organized using a computer calendar and keeps her appointments without assistance.

“Allison has shown a lot of strength in being able to balance her life and pursue the things that matter most to her.” Short said. “She has become more proactive, organized and outspoken about her decisions and opinions.”

 Working on the janitorial crew is an experience Allison has enjoyed.

“I’m comfortable with co-workers and am friendly with supervisors. I’ve also gained cleaning skills,” she said. “Pretty soon I will be cleaning my own bathroom.”

BCFR staff  have been pleased with her work at the agency. During a recent shift, Allison was praised for her friendly demeanor and efficient cleaning style.

Besides cleaning, Allison also spends her time writing, reading, watching Netflix DVDs and is planning on volunteering at this year’s True/False Film Fest. Film is an important part of Allison’s life. To learn more about movies, she is enrolled in film class at Moberly Area Community College.

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