A recipient of DSC supports and a participant in Community Day Services (CDS), Joe is someone who has experienced personal growth through the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prior to the pandemic beginning, Joe was participating in a full schedule of community activities. When DSC’s location, The Crow at 110 was a venue for The Boneyard Arts Festival, his artwork was displayed. Joe still likes to talk about how he felt when he had the opportunity to feature his artwork at the event. “I worked with Jess Byler on the dragon and tiger artwork. I was so scared at first, but then I stood in front of my tiger when someone came to see it. I love The Crow,” said Joe.
Joe is still participating in creative activities, but during the pandemic, adjustments had to be made along the way, to adhere to the State guidelines for each phase. When DSC was permitted to begin welcoming participants back in person, CDS programming adapted accordingly. For now, Joe has returned to a new location and schedule than what it was prior to the pandemic. “I have to wear a mask now, and stay six feet apart. I always keep my mask over my nose, and I’m going to be glad when this virus is over,” Joe said.
Joe and his friends have also resumed trips to the Stephens Family YMCA, where they enjoy walking on the track. They also clean Hessel Community Church twice a month, followed by time spent on the swings at Hessel Park afterward.
Margaret Smith, a Direct Support Professional at DSC, said that she has noticed an increase in Joe’s level of confidence, over the last year. She leads an exercise group. “When we first began, Joe wasn’t that interested in the idea of group fitness, but now he looks forward to it and enjoys it.” Margaret also said that Joe is very helpful and often offers to help clean up at the end of the day, and is good at communicating with his friends. “He has a gift for communicating with others who are non-verbal.”
“I’m learning to focus on myself now. I take care of number one,” said Joe. “I’ve been cleaning my room, doing my exercises now. I’m not worried about what’s going on down the hall. Nope, I’m singing my songs, learning my music and learning about me now,” said Joe referencing the group exercises and art projects he enjoys. “It makes me feel happy being around the stuff we make.”
Joe would also like everyone to know he enjoys coffee, especially French Vanilla, iced coffee from Dunkin-Donuts.