This is an excerpt about one of the participants I work with, from an artisan feature story illustrating our work at St. Coletta.
Due to her physical disability and limited use of her hands, Sharon found it difficult to find a suitable job in the community that could accommodate her needs. In the past, she worked at Walter Reed as a courier, but was forced to look for new opportunities when they downsized. Sharon was very determined to find work and make money following this position, and given her work ethic it was important for her to get a job that fit her, as well as provided some income.
Sharon joined our Rockville Adult Program in August of 2012 and decided to try to learn to weave. Initially she faced some challenges but with a few accommodations she was able to learn this fairly complicated skill. Now Sharon can weave scarves for our St. Coletta Shops. She truly enjoys her job and the satisfaction of customers buying her work, and she weaves independently, only needing staff assistance when there is a problem. Sharon is now earning a wage, which has created a sense of independence that was previously lacking, and she even helps keep track of how many inches she weaves per day. Her confidence has soared. Once shy and reserved, she has become more talkative, she smiles more and is generally happier!
Adults with physical and intellectual disabilities are an often overlooked and underfunded population. St. Coletta strives to bring out the strengths and unique talents of these individuals, so that they can achieve as much independence as possible for positive, fulfilling lives. Our participants enhance their vocational skills and utilize their creativity while completing meaningful activities. Thanks to the support of caring individuals like you, we are able to offer the tailored instruction and various activities that allow our students and adults to reach their full potential.
Sharon thrives in her routine, and her weaving continues to improve. Just seeing her smile makes it clear that she has gained more independence and is reaching her full potential; she is even interested in exploring other types of work. At St. Coletta, our goal is to make a real difference in the lives of children and adults with intellectual and secondary disabilities. With your help, we are! We are giving individuals like Sharon the opportunity to grow and thrive.
Photo: Karthika Audinet
Text: St. Coletta of Greater Washington