Getting around Hope’s campus took time for Alesha, not because she uses a wheelchair, but because her irresistible smile and open arms invited hugs from everyone in her path.

Hope is a protected, safe environment where hugs happen daily. But Alesha was moving toward adulthood and life in the larger world. As a 20-year-old woman made vulnerable by cognitive disabilities and cerebral palsy, she needed to learn other ways to socialize with people.

So her Hope team began teaching Alesha that giving high fives and waving are fun, too.

Every skill Hope children have when they reach adulthood increases their chances of living happily and independently. The focus from day one was on building Alesha’s basic life skills.

This is true for all Hope children, who have unique education plans identifying independent living skills they need to develop. Alesha learned such skills as interacting with adults and strangers in age-appropriate ways; participating in household activities, such as sorting silverware; and maneuvering her wheelchair.

Every school day, Alesha practiced pushing away from the walls when her wheelchair got stuck. When staff from her new adult home came to Hope to meet Alesha, they were very impressed that she could move around so well by herself.

Saying goodbye was hard. But Alesha and her Hope team had worked toward that moment for nine years. Now she’s successfully transitioned to a new home that she shares with other adult women with disabilities. Alesha rides the bus daily to work in a sheltered workshop and enjoys regular outings with her peers.

Hope staff stay connected – as they do for each young adult leaving Hope – to ensure all is well.

The Hope Institute creates hopeful futures for children like Alesha every day. But we couldn’t provide this critical care without the heartfelt generosity of friends like you.

Thank you for opening your heart to the special needs of Hope’s children.

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