Jessica had dreams two years ago when she graduated from Southern Boone High School. She wanted to work in the community, volunteer at the Humane Society and live independently.
The problem was Jessica had no idea how to make her dreams come true.
Partnership for Hope changed that by providing the 22-year-old with the support she needs to develop practical living skills and become more self-sufficient. Since the fall of 2010, Jessica has worked with Jamie Short, a Community Specialist with BCFR’s Life & Work Connections, to reach her goals.
Together, they have mapped a plan to prepare Jessica for a more independent life. She is learning how to budget, eat healthy, maintain proper hygiene and use a planner to track appointments. She also receives transportation services so she can keep appointments and interact with others in the community.
For Kimberly, Jessica’s mom, the services have made all the difference in her daughter’s life.
“Jessica is more confident,” she said. “I have noticed a decrease in depression because she can now do things on her own.”
In the past, young people like Jessica – fresh out of high school and with no practical living skills – would often flounder and lose the social skills they worked so hard to develop in school because there were few supports in place to help them transition from school to an independent life. The only way they received services was if they were in crisis. By then, it was often too late. Besides, such reactive services are far more expensive than training the same individual to avoid crisis and live independently.
In October 2010, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon lent his support to a partnership comprising the state, 37 county developmental disability boards and the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The Partnership for Hope provides services to people with disabilities and their families far sooner than before, helping recipients avoid crisis and delay or, potentially, a move to a residential home or institution.
A year after the program started, more than 1,000 individuals from 74 counties were enrolled. Today, 88 people in Boone County receive services through the Partnership for Hope.
Jessica is working with ACT to find employment in the community. She would like to work with animals, but she has seizures that complicate employment options. However, ACT is working with Jessica to develop a protocol for possible employers regarding her seizures.
Like any other young adult, Jessica has a busy social life. She is active with Services for Independent Living, where she attends a women’s group, a cooking class and game night every Friday. Her transportation service allows her to attend the events, which are an important part of Jessica’s desire to be an integral part of the community.
“The different programs have increased her confidence as a young woman,” Kimberly said. “Jessica is a lot more organized with everyday life skills.”
Watching Jessica grow more self-assured and independent has been a heart-warming experience for her mom, who once worried about her daughter’s future as well as her state of mind.
“We have seen a big change in Jessica,” Kimberly said. “She is motivated to be active in the community.”
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