If you looked up “active” in the dictionary, you’d probably see a photo of Barb. A participant in the Boone County Family Resources Supported Living program for 24 years, Barb is friendly, outgoing and prefers to stay busy out in the community. “I like to go, go, go!” says Barb enthusiastically. “When I’m not working, I like to volunteer or play sports with Special Olympics. I don’t like to just sit around.” Barb is working on a long-term goal to learn the skills she needs to move out of Supported Living and into her own apartment.
One of Barb’s specific goals over the past year was to learn to manage her own medications independently. Through planning with her support team, Barb now keeps track of her medications, orders more from the pharmacy when she’s running low, and takes the bus to pick up her prescriptions. “It’s something I’ve wanted to do on my own and now I do,” says Barb proudly. “It is a big accomplishment.” Next, Barb plans to work on scheduling her own healthcare appointments.
“When Barb wants to do something she puts her all into it,” says Kim Tolson, Site Supervisor at Team 260. “I have no doubt that she will accomplish anything she wants to do in her life. It has been a joy seeing her gain more and more independence over the last several years.”
Even though Barb is well on her way toward her goal of living on her own, she says she’s not quite ready yet. “There are still some things I want to work on, but when I’m ready, I’ll know.” Meanwhile she and her roommate get along very well and she likes spending time with staff and other residents at the apartment building.
A typical day for Barb involves getting up early for a walk around the neighborhood. Then, if she’s scheduled for work, she catches the bus to Schnucks where she’s been employed for the last 8 years. She’s responsible for bagging groceries, bringing in carts from the parking lot and some janitorial duties. “I absolutely love my job at Schnucks,” says Barb. “I’ve been working there for 8 years.”
If she’s not scheduled to work, Barb also gives her time as a volunteer at the city’s Activity and Recreation Center (ARC) where she helps out by dusting around the building. She also enjoys calling Bingo at the nursing home down the road from her apartment. “It is so much fun to call Bingo. The people that live at the nursing home really like to play. They always ask me if we’re going to be playing for candy or quarters!”
Sports are also very important to Barb who has spent many years competing with Special Olympics. She’s participated in just about everything that’s offered, but her favorite sport is softball where she likes to play the catcher position. “That’s where all the action is,” she says. “I also really like bowling, basketball, and track and field. I just want to stay active.”
And active she is – in addition to everything else in which she’s involved, Barb also serves as the secretary for People First of Boone County, a grass-roots self-advocacy group for people with developmental disabilities that meets monthly at the BCFR main office. “We just opened up our membership from people with disabilities to anyone. We would like to bring everyone together to talk about disabilities in the community. Come one, come all!”