Meet Aaron

Aaron receives employment services at LIFEDesigns. Originally from Noblesville, Aaron moved to Bloomington in 1996 to have a better opportunity for education. Because Aaron has mild autism, school was never something he looked forward to. He would often be teased by others because of his Autism and found it was not an environment he could thrive in.

With the help of his family, friends, and support services, today Aaron is thriving! He is an active community member and is involved with a number of clubs like Aktion Club, Kwanis Club, Special Olympics, and was even a member on the LIFEDesigns Board of Director a few years ago (you also may have seen him host at the Aktion Club of LIFEDesigns annual Talent Show). Aaron enjoys supporting IU Athletics, bowling, and movies. He hopes to go on a vacation to Disney World and attend a Chicago Cubs game.

Prior to COVID, LIFEDesigns helped Aaron find a job with IU Athletic Dining and would work about 11 hours a week. When the pandemic hit, Aaron (along with many others) was laid off from this job he enjoyed so much. However, he did not let that get him down. Since this major change, LIFEDesigns has been working with Aaron on interview skills, job searching, and benefits & counseling. 

Your donations help us keep our clients motivated and learning. Everyone deserves an opportunity to find employment in their community, despite having a disability. If you want to make an impact on someone’s life, pledge a gift in honor of 40th Anniversary by clicking here!

Meet Gary!

Gary has lived in institutions most of his life. He lived for many years in Tennessee, where he met a man named “Father Chad” who was married, and had a family of his own. When Father Chad was transferred to a church in Bloomington, IN, he and his family asked Gary to move with them to Bloomington. Gary was happy to make that move.  

Things became somewhat difficult for Father Chad and his wife to provide the support and care that Gary needed with their young children. In the 80’s, Gary first moved into supported living on his own with LIFEDesigns (Options at the time).  

Today, Gary lives on his own, receives support from staff, and worked for many years until he retired. Gary loves magic shows, magicians, magic tricks, and everything related. He is also very dedicated to his health, and attends a gym regularly. Gary also loves to make others laugh and has a great sense of humor (he’s even given many of our administrative staff nicknames that are quite unique)!

Because of your donations, we are able to provide a home for Gary. As a non-profit, we depend on donations to support our clients so they can live their most independent and fulfilled life with the help of our staff and services. Help us continue to provide support services to Gary and so many others by donating to our 40th Anniversary Campaign and pledge a one-time or monthly gift. 

Click here to donate! Thank you for supporting Gary and all of our clients at LIFEDesigns

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!

Jason smile

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

seamas at feddys

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!

7W8A3218

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.