A Place to Call Home

Photo of Barbi in front of her home.

Barbi pauses for a photo while on a walk around the neighborhood.

Barbi, who will be 60 years old next month, has been in and out of placement since she was 15. She’s moved many times and lived in several different communities. But it wasn’t until she moved to Columbia that she found a place to truly call home.

Barbi came to Columbia to live with her brother and his family. Soon after relocating, Barbi became a client of Boone County Family Resources where Support Coordinator, Marni Ardrey assisted with getting Barbi a position at ACT Works where she earns a paycheck recycling obsolete electronic media materials such as VHS tapes or CDs. Through her involvement at ACT, Barbi has gained much. “She is doing so much better than she was,” says sister-in-law Debby. “I am amazed and thankful for her progress over the last few years.”

After her brother became seriously ill in 2010, Barbi was able to move into the ACT Community Living program and now shares a home with two other women with developmental disabilities and their support staff. Once she was accepted into ACT’s residential program, Marni was no longer Barbi’s case manager. In 2013 BCFR took on targeted case management for individuals receiving residential services from ACT Community Living and Marni and Barbi were reunited.

“I was really excited when I found out I was going to be Barbi’s Support Coordinator again,” says Marni. “I was even more excited when I saw how great she was doing. Having worked with Barbi and her family previously, I know that Debby’s praise of Barbi’s accomplishments did not come lightly. It reminded me that it’s not just the services we purchase that make a difference. It’s also the desire to help the individuals we serve have the best possible outcome so they can live happy, productive lives. There is really nothing better than that!”

In her current home, Barbi has her own room and helps out around the house with general housekeeping duties and taking care of the house cat, Sherman. “I don’t do much cooking,” Barbi says. “But I help pass out the plates at dinner.” She enjoys taking walks in the neighborhood, visiting with her roommates and watching her favorite TV show, “The Waltons” in her bedroom.

Another much loved activity for Barbi is Cedar Creek Therapeutic Riding Center. She’s proud of a new pair of cowboy boots she purchased before she got started and talks happily about riding the horses. She is even considering volunteering her time to help feed and groom the horses this coming spring. Barbi also attends Wonderland Camp in the summer and says her favorite thing about going to camp is the boat rides – even though she doesn’t like to swim.

Barbi is working on improving her job skills and is ready to seek employment in the community. She’s worked at sheltered workshops in the past, but now she has an interest in food service. Her favorite restaurant is Golden Coral, so thinks that would be a place that she would like to work, or maybe even Dairy Queen, another one of Barbi’s favorites.

Back at her home, Barbi is proud to show off her artwork. She loves to color pictures and has hundreds of markers, crayons and colored pencils. She has a unique style of coloring, holding several open markers between her fingers on her left hand, while shading in areas of the picture with her right hand. She switches colors quickly and fills the entire page with color. Barbi also happens to collect Barbie dolls and has several of them on display in her bedroom.

When she’s not at work or the day program, Barbi likes to spend time with her sister-in-law and nephew. They have gone on vacations together and simply enjoy each other’s company. Barbi has photos of her family in her room and refers to them often. She seems to have made great strides since moving to Columbia and is happy to have a place to call home.