Diana was a true pioneer when in 1994, at 22 years of age, she became one of the first people to choose her own supports. A consumer-directed Request for Proposals was issued by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and a reception held to allow Diana to meet prospective providers. Diana and her family chose CSI to help her find a job and other meaningful activities. At the time, Diana lived with her family and was on a waiting list for a group home.
Diana met a number of CSI staff and chose Shari to work with her. Shari’s high energy and zest for life encouraged Diana to try new activities. Diana started working at TJ Maxx, joined the health club and Weight Watchers, and began volunteering. Over the years, she changed jobs a few times until she found her niche. Now, she has been employed as an Office Assistant by CSI for well over a decade. Shari is a co-worker in CSI’s office and a friend in Diana’s life.
Diana never moved to a group home. Instead, she left her family home in favor of an apartment in an affordable housing complex. While she appreciated living on her own, the one disadvantage was that the apartment complex had many more seniors than younger persons. With CSI’s assistance, Diana began a long search for a condominium apartment. She had hoped that a small trust would enable her to fund the purchase of a condo, but that was not to be the case. Still, this year Diana has achieved her dream by leasing her own apartment in a very nice condominium community.
Diana is supported by Personal Care Assistants (PCAs) she herself hires and who help her to keep her apartment clean, take care of herself, and eat healthy food. In turn, CSI staff help Diana pursue community activities, manage her money, coordinate her health care, and supervise her PCAs.
Diana’s life is enriched by a large circle of support, as well as by having a gentleman friend with whom she has had a year-long relationship. Diana’s near-term goals are to improve her reading and computer skills and, toward that end, she has joined classes at the local library. Diana is not without challenges beyond those. Members of her circle of support recently challenged her to work more cooperatively with the PCAs she engages.
Having recently enjoyed her 40th birthday party with 75 guests, Diana’s life is full. She recently attended Blondie and Tina Turner concerts, and her vacations have included Fort Lauderdale Beach, cruises to the Carribean, Foxwoods Casino, and New York City. And she has joined CSI’s newly formed Healthy Lifestyles Reward Program (HLRP), having lost 14 pounds. She is determined to win one of the HLRP’s big prizes – a laptop computer - and to do so must win many more points for healthy living! Diana has accepted the challenge!