Scholarships Keep the Learning Going
Great things happen with just a few extra days spent at New Danville. Several months ago, the Assistance League of Montgomery County (ALMC) provided assistance to two Wranglers, enabling them to attend day habilitation programs more often. What difference does a day (or several) make? A lot.
According to Barb Michels, of ALMC’s Special Needs Scholarship Committee, “Assistance League of Montgomery County is proud to have awarded Justin and Ashley scholarships, enabling them to continue to pursue their goals. We are pleased to enjoy a partnership with New Danville as we work together to improve the lives of the people of Montgomery County.” Lives can be improved in many different ways.
Justin was featured in a previous issue of The Wrangler Gazette when he and his mother were able to share some of their story as an inspiration to others. For all the progress cited in the story, it has continued, thanks to ALMC support.
Nicole Martinez, program coordinator, recently cited several areas of noticeable improvement for Justin. “He continues to come out of his shell and socialize more. I am most pleased to see that he is advocating for himself now. That is a huge step for adults with IDD.”
According to an article by Katherine Owen and Jackie Downer, and published by the University of Hertfordshire in 2002, “Self-advocacy is one of the most important ways in which people with intellectual disabilities have a voice of their own…This is important because it is directly linked to building confidence and self-esteem.”
Justin’s mother has noticed a difference, too. She said, “It is apparent to me that Justin feels a deeper connection to others this time around. He has developed a sense of community and can remember the names of people that he refers to as his friends. He is also learning some skills – like sewing – that are completely new to him.
Overall, we are both deeply grateful to both the Assistance League and New Danville for the opportunity he has been given this year. The sense of community and connection that he now has is priceless.”
Nicole shared that Ashley is also coming out of her shell, citing her involvement in meditation class, as well as others. “We realized how far Ashley has come when she agreed to be part of the group photo at the recent building dedication.” The new building is home to the pallet-production team that is part of the “Pallets to Partners” program with New Danville and Charbonneau Industries. Ashley is a member of the team but has typically shied away from having her photograph taken or participating in group events. “That was a big sign of growth,” Nicole said.