MEET SOME OF THE EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE IN OUR EHCA FAMILY
Once a participant in the agency’s school age program and SNAP, Octavia has been an EHCA resident since 2012. Octavia loves swimming, playing bingo and Uno, going to the movies, doing jigsaw puzzles, listening to music, and going to parks and playgrounds. McDonald’s is a favorite destination, too. Weekdays she’s off to the work program at Barber National Institute, and Sundays she looks forward to going to church and spending time with her mother.
Dustin has become a community volunteer extraordinaire. A participant in EHCA’s Options program, Dustin volunteers five mornings each week at five different locations. Monday mornings he helps out at Erie City Mission or Potratz greenhouses, depending on the season. On Tuesdays he travels to Meadville, where he helps sort donations at the Salvation Army. Dustin works at the farm of a family friend on Wednesdays, and Thursdays he volunteers at McLane Church in Edinboro. Meals on Wheels is his Friday destination. He and staff member Kalie pick up and deliver 18 meals each week.
“It’s fun,” Dustin says. “In my heart, I know what I’m doing makes them happy and me happy.”
An EHCA resident since 1987, Sheley moved into one of the agency’s Titusville group residences in 2002. Each Monday she heads to the VARHA (Venango Area Riding for the Handicapped Association) barn and rides in the back of a horse-drawn wagon. Sheley loves being around the horses. She also volunteers at Pleasantville Community Church, goes out to dinner with her dad, participates in dance classes, and goes swimming. Sheley might need a wheelchair to get around, but she’s rarely sitting still. She loves being outdoors, going to the library, shopping, and attending concerts and county fairs. Cold or rainy days don’t slow her down either. When she’s at home, Sheley stays busy by painting, making crafts, working on puzzles, or baking.
Shantell has found a home through EHCA’s Life Sharing Through Family Living program. He and his program provider, Tim, go on camping and backpacking trips, attend music festivals, work out at the gym, and go for long walks. Shantell works a full-time janitorial job and is able to take the LIFT bus to and from work daily. He is learning skills such as money management, laundry, personal hygiene, safety skills, and simple kitchen skills to help him become more independent.
According to Tim, one of the biggest changes he has seen in Shantell over the past two years is his increased confidence in social situations.
“It’s working out great,” Tim adds. “I’m glad I got involved in the program.”