Our Stories

J’s Story: Riding towards Independence

May 29, 2020

J is happiest when he has a consistent schedule and lots of routine in his day. Prior to the COVID-19 shutdown of services, 21-year old J, who is supported by St.Amant Home Share program, spent his weekdays attending the St.Amant School. There, his days were filled with classes, activities, and community field trips.

At school, J used a bike every day and swam every week, Joyce Douglas, Principal at St.Amant School recalls. “J is a really busy, active young man, and physical activity is really important to him. He loves to go out, and he has attended many events in the city such as theatre, movies, parks, and shopping. He loved MTYP.”

In school, he participated in classroom activities, morning meetings, group lessons, cooking classes, and enjoyed being helpful around the class. He did the classroom recycling and often helped other students with their lunches. He attended enrichment classes where he learned to apply his communication skills with his iPad and sign language, to other activities.     

When the school had to close, J’s schedule was completely disrupted and the absence of the structure that J is accustomed to was a challenge. J’s Home Share provider Robyn recognized this immediately and has worked to maintain as much routine and schedule as possible, while keeping him safe at home. 

J’s complex health needs require a nurse support at all times, and he uses a ventilator at night. He also has a childhood history of pneumonia so his Home Share family is being extra vigilant with physical distancing restrictions and stay-at-home recommendations.

Thankfully, the family lives on a large country property with lots of room to roam. They have purchased a porch swing and a trampoline but what J is missing most is a bike. There is nothing quite like the freedom and independence of a bike ride. He had a custom bike at home when he was younger, but he has since outgrown it. Luckily, he has been able to borrow one from the school but it doesn’t fit him as well as it could, and he will need to return it. Having one of his own would make a world of difference! 

While the pandemic has meant a pause in school and the many activities J was a part of, you can help him get his own custom bike!

The necessary customizations required for J’s bike is cost-prohibitive and your help is needed. Robyn, his Home Share provider, says “J thrives in the outdoors and physical activity reduces his stress. This allows for a more willing participant in other aspects of daily living. It also provides positive mental health and an important social outlet for someone who is non-verbal.”

At this time of disruption, distancing and uncertainty, staying active and involved has never been more important. Your gift will allow J to be active and happy! Please consider giving a gift today!