When Beth was diagnosed as developmentally disabled at age 2, her mother, Katherine, provided her with the compassionate care needed for Beth to grow into a kind, loving individual who could function well despite her unique challenges. Now as an adult, Beth’s sister, Melissa, has picked up the torch to advocate for Beth, who also contends with mental illness.
To offer Beth enriching experiences in a supportive environment among her peers, Melissa and her family turned to DePaul’s OPTIONS day support program. “The moment we walked into the center and met Mary, we knew we found the right place,” Melissa recalled. “There was an automatic feeling of comfort.”
Under the direction of Day Support Coordinator Mary Janick-Smith, Madison Heights OPTIONS’ caring and committed staff has provided Beth with the support, variety, and structure she needs to thrive. Through the program, Beth has become more integrated into the community as a volunteer with projects such as Meals on Wheels and has developed meaningful relationships with fellow OPTIONS participants. As a result, Beth’s self-esteem has flourished, and her once-frequent episodes of anxiety have greatly decreased. “Beth doesn’t worry about how she’s going to be perceived or treated any longer,” Melissa said, “because now she knows she’s going to be treated well.”