Meet Jennifer!

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The past few months have demonstrated the resilience and adaptivity  our staff, clients and caregivers. When the Governor mandated Indiana’s stay-at-home order, LIFEDesigns moved to virtual operations, providing numerous live and zoom activities, while also continuing to support our clients through the aid of our wonderful direct support professionals.

The story of Jennifer Patterson highlights how LIFEDesigns was able to support our clients through these unprecedented times. Jennifer is a client most at the office know very well. Along with working at McCalister’s, Jennifer works at the LIFEDesigns’ office part time in janitorial services. While cleaning she enjoys catching up with LIFEDesigns’ operational staff and meeting new employees. Jennifer is unique since her mother, Dixie Patterson, is also her DSP. As a team, they keep pretty busy. Even after the stay at home order they have kept a very tight schedule. Due to the stay-at-home order, Jennifer moved from her independent living apartment back home with her family in order to be cared for and reduce risk. Jennifer and Dixie turned quarantine into pure fun. They participated in several of Alyssa’s Live Cooking and Exercise classes, “Fun with Friends” on Zoom and Brandi’s Crafting class. Dixie reports that because of these classes Jennifer has learned how to measure when cooking and how to join Zoom meetings. She says that these meetings are “great opportunities to see her friends”. Jennifer’s and Dixie’s ability to adapt and still connect is exactly what staff at LIFEDesigns had hoped for our clients.

While the stay-at-home order may have lifted, LIFEDesigns is still working carefully to support our clients through virtual activities. We are also reinforcing new regulations such as face coverings, temperature monitoring and social distancing in the office. Gifts and event attendance are very much needed to continue supporting clients such as Jennifer, if you are willing and able to help please consider visiting our current needs page.

Congrats Tristan!

bSsuoyTaTnO828nLtuYJ9g  Much congratulations goes out to our client, Tristan! After four hard years, Tristan graduated high school!! This large feat would normally be celebrated with an in person graduation at the school, wearing a cap and gown, and walking across a stage to receive a diploma. Sadly, due to covid, Tristan’s high school graduation was canceled. LIFEDesigns’ Team Manager, Layla, however, planned a covid friendly celebration- a surprise caravan parade! About 10 cars filled with LIFEDesigns’ staff placed the unaware Tristan and his staff at the street corner near his house. They honked their horns and held signs out of the window stating just how proud they were of Tristan’s success. Tristan’s smile could be seen from miles away. He surely was surprised and was even more surprised when he was given a gift card to his favorite fast food place. Tristan is just one of the clients we serve at LIFEDesigns and his success is one in many we hope to continue to celebrate. We are so proud of Tristan and so proud of Layla, who went above and beyond to celebrate his special day.

Ryan & Jake On Their Road to Independence

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Many of you have met Jake.  He has been a client of LIFEDesigns for many years and has even served on our Board and other committees. Ryan has been a client of LIFEDesigns for over 4 years.  Jake and Ryan met when they both joined the ALL Abilities Choir which LIFEDesigns sponsors. It was then that they began speaking about their dreams and envisioning what it’s like to be roommates with each other and having a home to share with each other. Ryan and Jake were both living with family but had dreams of living on their own in their own place. With the help of LIFEDesigns staff and their supportive families, Ryan and Jake applied for an apartment in the New Switchyard Apartments which is a South Central Indiana Housing Opportunities (SCIHO) Development for individuals and families of low income. LIFEDesigns was guaranteed 3 apartments when Switchayrd Apts was built. The 3 apartments were first promised and prioritized for LIFEDesigns clients. On Friday June 5th, Ryan and Jake officially signed their first lease and got the keys to their OWN apartment!  Jake said “I can’t believe my dreams are coming true!”

Meet Aubree Smith!

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Aubree Smith received Employment Services from LIFEDesigns and as a result has found her dream job at Goodwill, she has been employed at Goodwill for an amazing 8 years!  She works as a rack runner and loves it. Goodwill has named Aubree employee of the month twice and Aubree is super happy. LIFEDesigns was Aubree’s choice for employment services because of the options and opportunities that were presented to her. Not to mention the amazing friends and connections she has made. These connections at LIFEDesigns have also helped tremendously with quarantine in the face of COVID-19. For Aubree the virtual tours and action club meeting held through Zoom have helped her connect with her friends and with the community. Aubree would recommend LIFEDesigns to anyone with a disability looking for unemployment services or great connections because of how great her experience has been.

Meet Stacey

portrait We feel honored to know Stacey now for several years. Since getting to know her, we’ve been able to support Stacey to help her find a job she enjoys at McDonald’s. Like many people, when she first learned of the COVID-19 pandemic and started to hear about the effects it was going to have on local businesses, she was afraid that she might lose her job or be laid off.

Recently, before any news of COVID-19, Stacey had set one of her new goals related to employment: “To advocate for herself at work to learn more skills.” Stacey’s primary responsibilities at McDonald’s had been working in the lobby. When the lobby closed because of COVID-19, she thought she wasn’t going to be able to keep working. To her surprise and delight, she was ecstatic to learn that she is now considered an “essential employee”! To earn this designation, Stacey had expressed her interest in learning new skills with her employer. As a result she had learned to make fries and help with other things in the kitchen so she would still be able to work. We’re so happy for her, and honored to have been able to provide her the support she needed to gain confidence and advocate for her own interests.

Thanks to DSPs Everywhere…

This week we would like to give extra special recognition and thanks to our amazing Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) and Team Managers who have been continuing to work with our clients. It has been a challenging, and somewhat uncertain time with the social distancing, and the Governor’s shelter in place executive order. Yet through all of this, our clients still rely on their staff being with them. Many of our clients are getting restless and sometimes tensions between roommates are high. Our DSPs are doing their best to be creative and provide engaging activities to do in the home. In some cases, our staff are playing the role of “teacher” for students who are now doing “school at home”. Here’s a letter we recently received from a family  member of one of our clients. It was really moving and we thought you might want to read it as well:

Jan dressed up for Halloween!
Jan dressed up for Halloween!
Jan singing with Jake
Jan singing with Jake

“I just want to take this opportunity to share my feelings with the Direct Support Professionals, Nurses, and Administrative Directors of LIFEDesigns. A year ago almost to the date, I brought my sister home from the hospital after battling Type A influenza in the ICU. The support we received from LIFEDesigns nurses and staff while in the hospital was incredible and much needed. A few weeks later, the leadership of my sister’s support staff walked out on the same day. The veteran leaders, managers and DSP’s of LIFEDesigns took on extra hours to keep my sister and her roommate healthy and safe.   

As of today, I haven’t been able to see my sister for 17 days and I won’t be able to see her again until April 7th. Because of a much needed vacation I’m self quarantined and I would not want to put my sister or anyone else’s health in jeopardy. That said, as a guardian/brother I would be out of my mind without the support provided by LifeDesigns DSP’s, Nurses and Staff. So for all the good guardians in this world we thank you!!! Not just because you do your job, but because you care  and you make personal sacrifices to keep our loved ones healthy and safe. May God bless your families and keep them healthy and safe!!”