Describing Jacob in one word is easy, DETERMINED. As a 19 year old, Jacob has demonstrated determination in achieving his goals in school, work and personal independence.
When Jacob and his team discussed his desire to gain employment, his Support Coordinator completed a referral to the Career Awareness Related Experience (C.A.R.E) Program thru the City of Columbia. Through this program, participants develop basic work skills to build a good work ethic and explore work environments. Jacob set a goal to volunteer with the hope he would move to part-time employment. Jacob initially volunteered five days a week and then moved to a part time job!
Jacob graduated from High School in 2011 and began taking courses at Moberly Area Community College (MACC). He currently maintains a 4.0 GPA and is pursuing an Associate’s degree in Criminal Justice. He is specifically interested in the Crime Scene Investigation aspect of Criminal Justice.
Jacob appears most proud of his accomplishment in obtaining his driver’s license. Jacob was previously catching rides from his parents when going to class and work. Jacob explored other options in town and ultimately decided that nothing would meet his needs as well as having the ability to drive on his own. He reports “my favorite part about having my license is that I don’t have to wait for my mom or dad to finish what they’re doing before taking me somewhere, I can just go now.”
Jacob’s journey began during the summer of 2012. As part of his annual individual plan meeting, Jacob discussed his desire to learn to drive. His Support Coordinator contacted an Occupational Therapist with expertise in driving evaluations to schedule and fund an evaluation. The evaluation determined Jacob was capable of operating a vehicle and provided Jacob and his family strategies to meet this long term goal. Jacob’s initial homework was simple: practice driving while a passenger, identifying every turn, stop sign and lane change. Although Jacob’s parents felt that this could become distracting at times, it helped Jacob slowly learn the rules of the road. After he grasped the concepts of driving, Jacob began his training behind the wheel. Jacob sought out additional help and privately paid for lessons with a private driving school in Columbia. He met with an instructor on average of one hour per week to build his confidence.
Jacob’s dad says “the confidence is there now!” Jacob has reached a level of independence that all teenagers seek, freedom! Jacob currently drives himself to and from work 3 days per week and to class at MACC one day per week. Jacob no longer relies on his family for transportation nor is he waiting around for the bus to arrive. When asked what his most memorable moment was in this process he said “when they handed me my license, I finally did it.”