PCL has many wonderful success stories. Here are just a few .....
The Story of David O.
According to some research, there are three things that everyone needs to be happy ... a home of your own, meaningful work and friends.
David has been supported by PCL for approximately 17 years. Nine of these were at the Queen St. Apartment, two at Westheights, and most recently, six at Blueridge.
David's working career began at St. Louis Roman Catholic Church in Waterloo in 1992. For two of those years, David worked with his Dad, Nate, until Nate retired. In 1998 ,David went to work for St. Francis of Assis Roman Catholic Church in Kitchener .... right across the street from Blueridge home. At St. Francis, Nate came out of retirement to work with David, doing maintenance work, but was once again ready to retire in 2008. There was some concern around who would take over from Nate as this person would now be supervising David. Gary Howell was approached to take the position, but he already had a job teaching at Conestoga College. Gary finally did decide that he would like to retire from the college and take the position at St. Francis, but that couldn't happen until 2009. Nate was convinced that Gary was the right person to be supervising David, so he continued to work at St. Francis until Gary took over in 2009. During a short talk with Gary Howell, this writer learned that Gary understands David's challenges, has been steadily working with David so that he is consistently successful at the tasks that Gary sets for him, and encourages David on a regular basis to learn new things and to master these as well. David has also worked as a volunteer on Thursday afternoons at Victoria Place Retirement
|Residence for approximately 11 years, and at the Kinsmen Center on Friday afternoons as a paid employee for the past 5 years.|
Along with his housemates, David considers Jim, the maintenance supervisor at Victoria Place, a long-time friend, and Gary Howell, at St. Francis Church, a new friend.
How does David describe himself? "I'm a happy man!"
A Busy and Fulfilling Life For Steven
Steven became part of the PCL family in January 2007 when he moved away from his family home for the first time and into PCL’s home on Westheights Dr. Currently Steven lives in the Westvale home where he very much enjoys spending time with his housemates and helping out with yard work and cleaning.
Steven keeps himself very busy during the week. He participates in a day program offered through Extend-A-Family (EAF) called W.A.L.E.S. (Working Adults Learning Empowering Skills) as well as many other programs associated with EAF, such as Best Buddies, Mighty Hawks, Annual WOW walk and the Annual Health and Wellness fair.
|Steven volunteers at Meals on Wheels, Kitchener Public Library and The Museum and also has a paid job working in the EAF office on Tuesday afternoons.Steven is very active with Sports for Special Athletes. In the summer he plays mini golf and in winter, 10 pin bowling.|
Steven gets along well with his roommates and enjoys going for long scenic walks, to the movies and shopping with them. Steven also enjoys working on his puzzles, lego models and bird watching.
When you ask Steven what he likes best about his busy schedule he will say “It’s fun, I like working with people”.
A New Life and a New Family for Nancy M.
Nancy came to PCL in September 2005, also known as "way back when." During the summer of 2010, she moved her things into the newest PCL home, Casey. Nancy comes from a big family of 4 sisters and 2 brothers, so getting used to 4 friends to share a house with, although shy at first, became second nature once things settled down. Nancy visits her dad every Sunday to Monday and sometimes helps dog sit for a family member. With her family, there are lots of trips and parties, which is another similarity to her life with her Casey family. Most summers, there is a trip to the Elvis Fest in Collingwood that Nancy has described as "awesome."
Nancy has recently started a new day program at Trinity, where she enjoys many new activities with new friends. Nancy has been volunteering at the YMCA for "many years." She helps out with the laundry and socializes with the patrons. Sports for Special Athletes is just around the corner and Nancy is going to try her hand in lawn bowling. She will also continue with her specialty, mini golf.
Nancy enjoys singing and dancing, especially to the Black Eye Peas' "I gotta feeling." She loves all pets and feels she is a role model for the people around her. She likes to help those who feel sad and encourage those who are trying their best. Nancy is looking forward to the summer, getting "out there" and joining in on more "family" events.
Written May, 2011
A Personal Journey...
Our family attended St. Francis Church, the supportive faith community which assisted with PCL's beginnings. My friend/client Eleanor Horrigan, a former board member of PCL, would "chat me up" about PCL and I would contribute gift certificates for fundraisers. Through Eleanor, my sister Paula would receive news about Kathy, a resident of Westvale and former high school buddy of Paula's. I tried many times to get Paula and Kathy together, but Paula's work schedule (a work week with 12 hour shifts) made this impossible. I had many, many sleepless nights worrying that Paula had no friends that she could really relate to. My worries were never far away - how would she cope without Mom with whom she lived or me? After Paula was made redundant at work, she slipped into a deep depression. Eleanor lit a fire under me, "You call Betty Mulhall or Kathy Loveys at PCL!", " get Paula to the Friday night club."
Paula's first exposure to PCL was at the Friday night club. I tear up as I type as I remember Paula and Kathy K. meeting for the first time in years...hugs and high fives were the order of the night. I watched with great satisfaction as their heads bobbed in conversation. By the end of the night, Paula has 4 new friends. My heart was full.I knew that I needed more information and help - did I need help!...so many acronyms DSAC, PCL, SSAH, ODSP. The PCL Parents and Members Committee saved me. Overnight I felt that my extended family had grown. The members understood my worries. I really didn't need to explain. I know how cliché this sounds - but the weight of the world slowly lifted for me. Feeling supported makes such a difference. PCL offered Paula a day program at the Westvale house. Every Friday for 2 years Paula enjoyed the company of the gals at Westvale House, doing craft projects and sharing stories. I have watched Paula grow so much, thanks to the help of PCL staff. They have been able to effect changes that family can't always facilitate.
|Paula's transition from home to the Casey house was smooth and seamless thanks to the Westvale experience. Paula saw what a rich and supported life her new friends enjoyed and hoped to find such a place herself. The Radford family feels blessed to have found PCL and very honoured to be a part of such a stellar organization. I now get to visit my sister Paula and her extended friends and family...very cool indeed! |
Paula is proud of and happy with, her new life. We now all have a new level of "peace of mind!!"
Submitted by Teresa Butler (Radford), September, 2010.