Darcy has come so far in her time here at Southern Oregon Aspire. She was introduced to Southern Oregon Aspire through her caseworker where she began working in the local bookstore that we once owned. She was a very shy and timid individual, a result of her years of being bullied in the public school system because she appeared to be different. But what she discovered through the help of Southern Oregon Aspire is that she is just like everyone else. Her challenges may be more apparent than others, but she is just like everyone else, a human being that has goals, dreams and desires. She has skills and abilities to share with the world and enjoys learning new tasks and looks forward to new opportunities that may come her way.
When the bookstore was closing, Darcy had to make a change in her employment. She was offered a position as a receptionist in the administrative office, which she agreed to take. Many remember that dark haired, shy, young lady that would hardly look up when you approached her. She has worked hard with various job coaches, family and staff who have encouraged and supported her in becoming who she is today. She now lives on her own in her own apartment, she still works at Southern Oregon Aspire, but now she is an assistant working in the Behavioral and Training department. She teaches new hires about people who live with disabilities and how they may appear different, but they are just people who are choosing to live a life that fulfills them. She continues to learn, live and thrive in our community and looks forward to advocating for those living with intellectual and developmental disabilities in helping them achieve the same things that are important to all of us.
Pam is a remarkable lady that has overcome so much in her life, labeled as an individual with an intellectual disability. But that label does not define her. Her childhood was not an easy one. It was filled with neglect, abuse and hardship. Her teenage years continued with years of abuse and bullying. She continued on, graduated from high school without the ability to read, married young and had a child only to experience a life filled with abuse once more. This time she was able to make her own decision and leave and pursue a life that fulfilled her dreams. A life that included a job she loves, a husband who is her best friend and supports her, and a mother, and grandmother that adores her 4 grandchildren. She took it upon herself to learn to read with the help from the Literacy Council. She is living the life she chooses, which also includes buying her own home and learning to drive. All these things were made possible because her caseworker introduced her to Southern Oregon Aspire. We offered her the supports needed to make her dreams come true. She now has a job coach that helps her learn her duties at the front desk, guides her in decisions that are best for her, and supports her to learn at a pace that is comfortable for her, without teasing and ridicule. She is not only a part of the admin team, she’s an important part of the team.