Meet Florence and Rama
When she was 43, Florence moved from her family home in Ballard where she had lived all her life, and started getting our services at the Ballinger Commons apartments. Flo’s face lit up like a Christmas tree when she got the key to her very own first apartment, and she immediately started directing her busy social life. Flo’s mom was sad to see her move out of the family home, but she was having a hard time keeping up with Flo’s medical challenges. Due to the many medical issues, Flo’s prognosis at the time was short. We are thrilled to report that this past July Florence celebrated thirteen years with BDP. Today her health is stable, and she lives in The Ramsey Apartments with her beloved roommate in her cozy, cheerful apartment, and is a whirlwind of activity. Florence’s sunny attitude and the love she freely shares brightens our days.
A huge part of Florence’s success has been having a consistent team of advocates and nurses working with her, and coordinating her complex medical care. Rama is Florence’s lead staff member and came to BDP the same year as Florence. In fact, it was Rama who helped Florence with the transition from her mother’s home. The two of them had planning meetings, and Rama took special care to acquaint herself with Flo’s needs and the people in her life. Working together for over ten years has led to a special bond between the two: Rama is a solid presence in Flo’s life. Rama says “I love working with her, I love the whole package of Florence.” And Flo says of Rama, “she’s my angel!”
Florence believes in calling her own shots, so when she felt that her previous guardian was not respecting her choices, she initiated a legal process to get a new one. She was truly brave throughout the long challenging procedure, and finally, with the help of good friend Nicole, Florence received her new guardian, Maureen, in 2011. Maureen bends over backwards to support Flo’s wishes and goes to bat for her, too.
Florence has quite the full schedule nowadays. In addition to attending to her extensive healthcare needs, she attends a day program, pottery classes, and dance lessons where she is learning not only to belly–dance, but also to line-dance to her favorite: country music. On Thursdays, her job coach helps her volunteer at Arden Rehab Center, and later that evening she sings karaoke with friends. Florence is an avid traveler; her most recent trip was with her friend Kendra to Las Vegas. Together they saw the sights, rode horses on a ranch, and caught a few shows. Florence reports that the highlight was going to see the Elvis Cirque De Soleil show.
Flo attended a friend’s wedding and spent three days on Orcas Island, celebrating and enjoying dancing, good food, beautiful scenery, playing with babies, and, of course, the joyous wedding of a loved one. More recent trips include both Disneyland and Victoria, BC. We are so thrilled that, with our support team and a great guardian, Florence is healthy and able to pursue the life that she loves, and share that love with all of us!
Becky and Messerat
Becky came from the Ruth Dykeman Children’s Center to be served by us in 1999. She was 18 at the time and moved into her first apartment in her home town of Shoreline. Becky had a rough time initially, but gradually benefitted from the loving support she received. At one point she told us that she really appreciated that staff “had my back” and “made me feel safe.” After a couple of years, Becky was able to pay it forward by providing a home and big-sister style mentoring to 19-year-old Cori, when she came to be served by BDP from the foster home system.
Today Becky is living in an apartment that she shares with her beloved cat Rita. Becky is especially interested in the arts and finds painting to be therapeutic when she is experiencing times of stress. (If you have attended our Annual Auction, you may have noticed the bright, colorful paintings that Becky donates) Additionally, Becky attends weekly poetry workshops, dotes on her cat, and spends time with her friends and neighbors. Becky is close with her stepmother, brother, and sister and spends holidays with them. Becky has decided to complete her High School diploma, and is taking classes at North Seattle Community College with an intended graduation date of 2017.
Anyone who spends time with Becky will soon hear of Messerat. Messerat has been at BDP for 8 years, and she and Becky have been working together for 2 of those years as a “primary” team. The primary staff person becomes an expert ally to his or her client, teaching and coordinating all financial, healthcare, household and relationship goals that the person has. It is apparent how much Becky values Messerat’s presence in her life. Becky says of Messerat, “She is a cool person to be around, she has a lot of good ideas.” In addition to their usual errands, Dr. appointments, and chores, Becky and Messerat often take long walks together to visit local parks. Messerat says that she sees working with Becky as a partnership and she likes collaborating and working towards goals they set together. Becky has had some rough times in her past, but she has done well putting those behind her and forging ahead on a new life for herself. As Messerat says, “Becky is not a quitter, she always tries really hard, and if it fails, she tries again.” We at BDP are fortunate to be part of Becky’s life and successes.
Ken and Ebrima
Ken R. had been living in an Adult Family Home, where they did not have the staffing levels to properly assist him. Adult Family Homes have the responsibility to provide food and shelter, and to help their clients get medical care, but they lack the funds to assist with social and mental health support. Ken was leaving the house in search of activity, but unfortunately the world is not always a safe place for a vulnerable adult, and Ken was at considerable risk. Ken often missed health appointments because he was not home when it was time to go, and his health was suffering. Ken’s Developmental Disabilities case manager advocated for more support, and he was eventually approved for supported living. Ken chose to be served at the Loya house, and he joined us in December of 2012.
At the Loya house, Ken has as much privacy as he would like, while joining his 3 housemates for meals and fun. With the help of his primary staff person, Ebrima, Ken has turned his life around. Ebrima says: “As Ken’s primary and support staff, I enjoy working with him very much. Ken enjoys the simple things in life like most of us do, and if you work with someone like that, then your work environment becomes a home for both you and your participant.” Ken enjoys his home, and stays in a lot more than he did when living at the AFH. Ken kicks back with old-school TV shows in the evening, and rarely misses church on Sunday. He has cut down his smoking and is taking far better care of himself and his health. He is at home to eat healthy meals, gets to all of his doctor appointments, and is getting great medical care and follow-up. Ken has been wearing clean clothes and looks great. With the help of a vocational agency, Ken has pursued his career interest – caring for cats – but has yet to land work.
Ken spends his days writing and drawing, mostly about cats and kittens. He and Ebrima hit the library to check for new books on his favorite topics, and when they are not doing that, they are enjoying walks together around Greenlake, or to the local Starbucks or 7-11 for a treat. Ken still gets to explore, but with proper support, he is safe and content. Ebrima and the Loya house staff make sure Ken is also given the opportunity to participate in Parks and Recreation activities. Ken’s favorites are movie night, hearing live music, and joining game nights for Bingo and Yahtzee. Ken also participates in BDP-sponsored events such as guys’ night out, and barbeques with his roommates on the back deck overlooking his huge yard and fruit trees.
Ken does not speak, but he is a great communicator. He writes notes, requests, and answers to questions on his note pad. When asked how he feels about getting services from BDP, Ken had this to say: ” I like living Loya house I always want to live in luxury place staff is nice to me treats me good house mates happy people I like to be around I turn dream in reality I like it here at Banchero.”
Nothing fulfills us more than helping people succeed. We are grateful that Ken joined our agency and we are proud that Ebrima and BDP are providing Ken the support he needs to be healthy and happy!
Jeffrey (JJ) celebrated his 24th year with us in 2013! He lives by himself in an apartment in Shoreline, in a complex with other BDP clients who are also supported. This way, he gets as little or as much support as he needs. JJ loves visiting the Northgate Mall. He has many friends among the vendors and mall walkers. JJ enjoys shopping for clothes and music at local thrift stores and has a huge collection of records, tapes, and CDs. Out of high school, JJ learned growing and sales at a veggie and flower program that Banchero Disability Partners used to run, called BackYard Starts. Eventually he parlayed his skills into a job at Solid Ground in Wallingford, where he has worked for over 15 years packaging seeds for the Lettuce Link program, who then distributes them to food banks. He enjoys his work and saves money to buy concert tickets. JJ makes friends out of all acquaintances and often leaves them with his personal motto, “peace, love, and happiness, dudes!”
Amalia (Mali) joined Banchero Disability Partners in support, moving from her family home with a roommate, into The Ramsey apartments. A recent graduate of Nathan Hale high school, Mali was a “jock” who lettered in both lacrosse and soccer. She is now keeping in shape by taking ice-skating lessons. In addition to playing sports, Mali loves baking, knitting, and playing the piano. She has also taken up weekly lessons on the guitar. Mali loves dog walking, and is hoping to turn her passion into a career as a professional dog walker.
Daniel has a fourth-floor home at The Ramsey Apartments that feels like a tree house; his windows look out onto a lovely canopy of Douglas fir trees. Daniel is very active and is often out for walks. He attends weekly basketball practice through the Seattle Parks Services Special Olympics program. Daniel goes to church on Sunday and enjoys bingo or the movies on Thursdays. He has a lovely family whom he sees every weekend for a meal out or a get-together. Daniel had a job he loved for four years bussing tables at Third Place Commons, but the poor economy resulted in a recent lay-off. He now volunteers at a local church, where he collates reading materials, and is searching for a paid position in assembly or janitorial work.