Meet Denny!

Denny has been with LIFEDesigns for about 8 years, where he receives housing, education and other support services. He loves sports, music, and is friendly and outgoing. He really enjoys motorcycles, old cars, old trucks, and Harley Davidson. What Denny wants more than anything right now is to save up enough money to buy a Harley Davidson jacket. He also has a great collection of music, records, and movies.  

He enjoys many sports teams, like the Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Reds, Yankees, Red Sox, and is a human wrestling encyclopedia. 

Denny lives in a group home, provided by LIFEDesigns, where we make sure his food, shelter, and basic needs are taken care of. At LIFEDesigns, we believe a nice and safe place to call home should be a right, not a privilege. Quality affordable housing can be extremely difficult to find, especially for those living with a physical disability who need accessibility.

Our mission, vision, and values highlight the importance of people being able to access their community. You can read more about our support services at Services | LIFEDesigns (lifedesignsinc.org)

Meet Jason!

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Jason was born in Bloomington, IN but lived in Odon, IN before moving to Norfolk, VA when he was just 7 weeks old. His father was in the US Navy and worked on the Richard E. Byrd, DDG23. Jason, however, considers Bloomfield, IN his hometown because that is where he went to grade school and met his best friend David. Jason’s Grandma & Grandpa also lived in Bloomfield and he loved visiting them and hunting and fishing with his grandpa.

LIFEDesigns has been part of Jason’s life since he was 16 or 17 after he was in a car wreck and caused him to have a traumatic brain injury. In 2016, the LIFEDesigns Employment Team helped Jason find a job at Texas Roadhouse, which he loves! He works about 6-7 hours every week and some of his responsibilities include cleaning, mopping and helping with other tasks in the kitchen. 

Jason dreams of having a family and living as normal life as possible.  He is closest to his Mother and Aunt Crystal. He also cares deeply for his family and friends. Jason likes to be independent and he is an excellent cook and if he couldn’t be a Professional Fisherman he would make a great Cook! When he’s not conjuring up interesting recipes he loves to eat steak, pizza or go for Chinese with mom. We are so proud of Jason and his accomplishments and we can’t wait to see what he does next!

Meet Seamas

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Seamas began working with LIFEDesigns Employment Services earlier this year. Seamas is a volunteer at the IU Art Museum and he plays Euphonium in the Bloomington Community Band. Like many younger adults, Seamas didn’t have much employment experience. He had some experience working in a café at Holiday World, but it was very limited as he only worked there when he was visiting extended family.  

With the help of his Employment Consultant JD, he started his career exploration with a work experience that was set up with Freddy’s. The work experience allowed Seamas to see if he liked working in a kitchen like Freddy’s and gave him a chance to show that he was able to do the job. This is not only a success story because Seamas was hired after his work experience ended, but showed success in that work experiences that are paid by the services provider for clients to participate in, help clients in the discovery process to help consider employment in an area with little or no experience.  Since LIFEDesigns pays the client to work during the work experience, the employer doesn’t have to say no immediately to a person with disabilities seeking employment opportunities due to fiscal concerns.  Instead they get to see the client in action!  Even if the work experience ends without a successful placement into a job, their Employment Consultant can use this experience to help guide further employment discovery.   

The culture is good for Seamas at Freddy’s as they believe in a “work family” philosophy where they all help and support one another to succeed.  Freddy’s was able to set Seamas up with a mentor/trainer when he first started and that beginning had a lot to do with his success! We wish Seamas the very best with his “work family” at Freddy’s. 

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!”