Lisa is Reaching New Heights
Individuals can do extraordinary things when they have a network of support around them. No one knows this better than Lisa, her sister Kim, and the staff at New Jersey MENTOR. Lisa moved into the Sussex home, one of New Jersey MENTOR’s Community Living Residences, just over one year ago and has grown by leaps and bounds.
“Lisa has really changed,” said Kim, Lisa’s sister. “At first I was nervous about having her live somewhere else but now I see how happy she is. It really feels like a family home and that’s made such a difference for both of us.”
Before coming to New Jersey MENTOR, Lisa had spent very little time with people outside her family. Born with developmental disabilities, Lisa is also legally blind and unable to speak. Throughout her life she had received constant care and support from her family but had little experiences beyond the walls of her own home. When Lisa’s parents grew older and could no longer take care of her daily needs, she faced an uncertain future. At the age of forty, her sister couldn’t imagine sending her to live strangers and she stepped in to provide the support Lisa needed. But after a few years, Kim began to realize that she couldn’t manage Lisa’s care alone and she turned to New Jersey MENTOR for help.
“When Lisa first came to us she had little interest in trying anything new but we all saw the potential in her,” said Elizabeth, House Manager for New Jersey MENTOR’s Sussex home. “We wanted to show Lisa that she could do things for herself so we put together a plan that focused on getting her involved in activities and within a few weeks she was already exceeding our expectations.”
In the past year Lisa has made tremendous progress. Before moving into the Sussex home, Lisa wouldn’t get dressed or go to the bathroom on her own and now she’s taking on new challenges every day. She’s learned how to put on her own shoes, sit politely at the dinner table and hang up her coat – all of which have helped her gain a new sense of confidence. As she reached each new milestone, Lisa’s attitude continued to change. She no longer resisted support from staff and was eager to spend time with her other housemates doing puzzles, mixing ingredients for a cake or just hanging out to watch a movie.
Today Lisa’s doing things she never thought possible. She’s begun to tackle everyday tasks on her own and she even attends a day program where she participates in many group activities. At age forty-six Lisa had spent most of her life at home and now she’s eager to continue spending time in the community. Going out to eat, bowling, shopping or swimming at the beach are just a few of Lisa’s new favorite pastimes.
“Lisa is such a quick learner,” added Elizabeth. “We knew that with consistent coaching and support she would be successful. Its amazing to see how far she’s come in so little time and we’re excited to see her working on new goals to add to her list of achievements.”
“She’s so much more independent,” said Kim. “Now when I come to visit we’re able to share a meal together which is one of my favorite things. I’m so thankful for the support she’s received. It’s been amazing to see how much she’s learned.”
New Jersey MENTOR’s Sussex home has given Lisa a new outlook on life. She loves being able to do things on her own and isn’t afraid to try something new. Living at the Sussex home has given Lisa an opportunity to experience all that life has to offer and reach her full potential.