Funny. Outgoing. Energetic.
These three words describe Jessica –a vibrant young woman living on her own thanks to thoughtful people like you. Her story is just one example of your generous support of donors in action.
When she was 19 years old, Jessica had a dream of living independently. And because of kind and caring people like you, she achieved it. The generous support of donors helped her access much-needed supports like mobility equipment and communication devices that empowered her to live on her own. But Jessica hasn’t stopped dreaming and the reality is that she and 1,600 others need your help to achieve their dreams.
Will you make a donation today to help fulfill the dreams of people with developmental disabilities and autism?
Jessica is a social butterfly. She loves meeting new people, hanging out with friends, going out for ice cream, and watching TV. Some of her favourite shows are CTV News, Dancing with the Stars, and Big Brother; especially when she watches with her close friend Stefani and Stefani’s dog Lucy.
Jessica moved to St.Amant’s complex care facility on River Road from her family home when she was 14 years old. She moved because as she was getting older she needed more support to get around.
Her mom Helen said they weren’t able to do any modifications to their house, so anything Jessica wanted to do required lifting. That’s when the family began to consider an assisted living arrangement.
“I had a tough time,” Helen said. “We wanted to keep her at home, but it wasn’t totally feasible.”
Jessica said the move was hard, but it helped that she knew St.Amant’s River Road Place from previous respite visits. It wasn’t long until she made new friends with her peers at school, the staff working there, and volunteers who joined her on outings to places like the zoo or the mall.
After five years of living at River Road Place, Jessica realized she wanted more independence.
“I went to a friend’s house for a party, and I remember thinking, I want to live like this,” she said.
Not long after the party, Jessica asked to move to one of St.Amant’s community homes. She remembers her social worker was supportive and said, “We can do this.” But it took some convincing and reassuring for her family to agree.
“They were worried that I wouldn’t get the best care,” she said.
“I wasn’t too crazy with her moving at first because of her medical issues,” said Helen. “What if something happens? There were all of these what ifs?”
Ultimately, Jessica convinced her mom that it would be okay.
“She convinced me to let her move, that it was her decision,” said Helen. “It’s what she wanted, it’s what made her happy.”
Even though it was what Jessica wanted, she admitted that she was nervous about it. With guidance from her support staff, she planned a few day visits and eventually an overnight trial. After spending one night on her own, the excitement came back.
“The first day I woke up, I was pretty overwhelmed. It was like, oh my gosh, this is really happening!” said Jessica.
“At the end of it, it was the best option,” said Helen. “Jessica has grown so much and has so many more opportunities because of St.Amant.”
Since moving out, Jessica has flourished. Each day she chooses her own meals, what she wants to do, which friends she wants to visit, and where she wants to go.
“Everything is up to Jessica,” said Maggie, who is part of the team where Jessica lives. “We don’t plan her days.”
It’s a fine balance between offering support and nurturing independence, Maggie said.
Your donation means Jessica can continue to spread her wings and gives many others the chance to have new experiences.
Jessica is 24 years old and has already accomplished some big life goals, and she’s ready for more. She says she has only one dream right now.
“I know what I want to do,” she said. “I want to go into communications, I want to be a reporter in the field.”
Today, you can help her do just that.
Your donation creates access to school fees, communication devices, and laptops for people with developmental disabilities and autism. All things that will help Jessica achieve her dreams.
You can provide essential items and meaningful opportunities that lead to a fulfilling life for Jessica and over 1,600 others supported by St.Amant. Will you make bright futures possible and please give today? Every single gift matters.
With gratitude and warm wishes for good things in 2018,
Director, St.Amant Foundation