As the new year kicks off, Robin is ready to begin working on a long-time goal of joining the workforce here in Columbia. And with the combination of a loving, supportive family environment and services and supports coordinated through Boone County Family Resources, she is well on her way to success.
When Robin first moved from New York to Columbia in 2011 to live with her sister and brother-in-law, she had a limited vocabulary and verbal communication was challenging for her. With support and encouragement from her family, as well as being accepted into the Medicaid Comprehensive Home-Based Waiver program, Robin has access to the tools she needs to expand her communication and independent living skills.
“Robin has blossomed into an independent woman who now has the communication skills and motivation to voice her opinion and make her own choices in life,” says Lydia Schoene, Robin’s Support Coordinator at Boone County Family Resources.
Through the waiver, Robin attends the day program at ACT where she works on daily living and communication skills. She enjoys being part of the Cooking Club at ACT and likes to help out around the kitchen at home, too. Melody Whitworth, Robin’s sister, says that the social aspect of the ACT Day Services program has helped Robin gain confidence in her communication skills. “Sometimes when Robin gets home, her voice is actually hoarse from talking all day with her friends at ACT.”
Robin also enjoys volunteering in the community. She has given her time at both the Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri as well as Meals on Wheels. Melody runs the dog rescue program Dogs Deserve Better and Robin has assisted with many of their community outreach and fundraising activities. This past summer, Robin also hit the campaign trail with her brother-in-law, Michael, as he ran for Boone County Associate Circuit Judge. “I was in the parade,” says Robin. “I held Mike’s signs.”
Through her volunteer experiences and her improved communication skills, Robin is ready now for community employment. She is planning to begin working with Vocational Rehabilitation as well as starting one-on-one Community Skills training with BCFR’s Life & Work Connections program to help her prepare. When asked what kind of job she would like, Robin didn’t specify. “I want to join the workforce,” she says. Melody indicated Robin had expressed different interests during their discussions at home, “Everything from working at McDonald’s to stuffing envelopes – Robin is ready to find a job. We’re looking forward to getting started with additional training.”
Lydia is excited to see Robin prepare for the workforce. “She has grown in so many areas since moving to Columbia. Robin is a joy to work with and she has such an amazing, positive attitude in everything she pursues!”
When Robin has free time, she enjoys watching TV Land shows and listening to music. She also has been known to dance. As part of her therapeutic recreation, BCFR sends Robin to Wonderland Camp for a week during the summer where Robin said her favorite part is the dance party. “I love to dance,” she says. Robin also has a special friend at home that that she cares for – her dog Mason – a boxer-pitbull mix that was rescued through Dogs Deserve Better. “Mason is a sweetie,” says Robin. “I love him.”
With her outgoing, enthusiastic personality and willingness to help others, there is no doubt that Robin would make an excellent employee. We wish her luck as she prepares to achieve her goal of community employment.