A Helping Hand

Allison is a 23-year-old moviebuff who maintains her own apartment, works the lunch shift at a busy restaurant and takes classes at Moberly Area Community College. In her free time, she watches movies and writes stories and is a regular volunteer at the annual True/False Film Festival.

Sounds like a typical young adult, right?

Thing is, Allison faces the daily challenges of developmental disabilities that, when taken into consideration, make her so-called typical life extraordinary. 

“Allison has made a lot of progress since I began working with her in 2011,” said Deanne Hoff, a Support Coordinator at Boone County Family Resources, where Allison has received services since 1997.

Allison, who has Mosaic Down syndrome, has been progressing toward independence for several years, making changes aimed at preparing her to be as self-sufficient and happy as possible. BCFR has been with her every step of the way, supporting Allison with services that have helped build her confidence and provided her with the skills she needs to live safely on her own.   

In 2010, Allison moved out of her mother’s home and into an apartment she shared with her sister and Lady, a black Labrador. As Allison’s Support Coordinator, Deanne met with Allison’s team and put together a plan to support Allison during this new phase of her life. Part of that plan, included pairing Allison with a BCFR Community Skills Specialist who worked with her on budgeting, cleaning, shopping, organization and other tasks associated with independent living. The Community Skills Specialist is part of BCFR’s Life & Work Connections program, which offers support to clients such as Allison by providing skills assessments, life skills training, work skills training, monitoring as well as assistance with housing and finding and keeping a job. Deanne believed these supports would help Allison build skills for a full and meaningful life.

So far, Deanne’s plan for Allison is paying off.

“Allison has shown a lot of strength in being able to balance her life and pursue the things that matter most to her,” said Jamie Short, Allison’s BCFR Community Skills Specialist.

             Once in an apartment with her sister, Allison developed newfound skills and confidence, which led to her next step toward more independence: finding a job.

Again, Deanne, Allison’s Support Coordinator, stepped in to help her client through this next step. Deanne secured a spot for Allison on the BCFR janitorial work crew at the agency’s main office. While on the job, Allison learned how to work with a supervisor, follow directions and the importance of being prompt. She also received assistance from Vocational Rehabilitation and the MORE group.

Justin Wann, a Client Services Coordinator  BCFR, who supervised Allison on the work crew, said Allison was “extremely reliable and one of the quickest learners” he had worked with on the crew. 

Today, Allison has her own apartment and a part-time job at a local Wendy’s restaurant thanks to supports that Deanne and Allison’s team put in place; special  funding covers the cost of Allison’s transportation to and from work. She continues to take classes at MACC, though she hasn’t decided on a major, and she will once again volunteer at the True/False Film Festival.

Allison is working with her BCFR Community Skills Specialist on ways to be more organized at home and to improve her health through exercise. She also receives support from her mother.

Allison is proud of her progress and grateful for the assistance she has received along the way.

“All the services that I’ve gotten over the years, since I was a child, have helped me become a smart, independent person,” she said. “Of course, I still need BCFR’s help with a couple of goals, and my mother’s help as well.”

Allison doesn’t believe that accepting help makes her different. In fact, she believes the opposite.

“Everybody needs help at some point,” she said. “I would not be here at this current point in my life were it not for my family and BCFR’s support.”