How many of you can remember your first apartment and the thrill of moving out into the community? If you’re like me, you might recall how exciting it was to venture out and begin making your own decisions.
Let me introduce to you someone who is doing just that. James is a brilliant young man who has achieved academic success by obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Speech Therapy through Chico State. He has a great sense of humor and is currently employed through the Office of Education working with elementary school children thru SERRF (Safe Education and Recreation for Rural Families).
James is very active in the community and enjoys socializing with friends and family. When we first met James just a little over eight months ago, he was living with his parents but had started the process of finding an apartment. James was approved for a 1 bedroom, 1 bath apartment through Northern Valley Catholic Social Services. During the transition from home to supportive living, James shared the emotional roller coaster that accompanies a huge change for someone with disabilities. The thrill of knowing that he could succeed was just as great as the fear of knowing that he could fail. Although James has a physical disability of CP, he reminds himself and others that he is not defined or limited by a diagnosis. James refused to allow his limited mobility to hinder his progress of moving into his own apartment.
Although James states that he now feels very successful living in his own apartment, he is fully aware of the challenges that accompany such a task. The recent death of his staff and personal friend of almost 6 years was extremely difficult and unexpected for James. He is learning that nobody is excluded from unexpected tragedies, but when they come he can turn to family and friends for support and strength.
James would like to encourage readers who are thinking of moving into independent or supportive living to just go for it! Although James has the encouragement and support of his family, he wants readers to know that they can be successful if they believe in themselves. James never gave up on himself and encourages others to do the same. Now that James is settled into his apartment, his first goal is to find a steady girlfriend and rewarding employment. In James’ words, “I’m like Mary Poppins. Simple, clear, fun and good-hearted.”