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The Road to Independence

by Suzanne Jones and Kevin Brennan

KevinKevin’s road to independence has taken longer than one would like and not without its share of challenges. Kevin believed in his goal of finding employment and had tremendous support from his family. Through perseverance and a lot of determination he now considers himself to be living independently.

Kevin’s journey to gainful employment and eventual independence began back in 2007. He found himself 18 years old, out of school, diagnosed with a learning disability and a severe speech impediment. He was living in the rural community of Pleasant View, P.E.I at that time with very limited job skills. There was an absence of any public transportation and Kevin had no driver’s license. The prospects for meaningful employment within his surrounding community were not promising.

In the fall of that year with the help of his family Kevin made the decision to relocate to the city of Summerside P.E.I. Summerside is a small city of approximately 15,000 people and is 75 km from his home. He would, initially, be living away from the security of his family in a dimly lit basement apartment that was far from luxury. This was not an issue for Kevin because it was the beginning of a new life filled with the promise of freedom and the independence that he so craved.

Within a short time after his move Kevin was introduced to Community Connections. This is an organization that helps individuals living with intellectual disabilities to develop to their full potential. For some people it may mean being supported with life skills while for others their focus is centered on employment opportunities.

Kevin’s road to independence has taken longer than one would like and not without its share of challenges. Kevin believed in his goal of finding employment and had tremendous support from his family. Through perseverance and a lot of determination he now considers himself to be living independently.

Kevin’s journey to gainful employment and eventual independence began back in 2007. He found himself 18 years old, out of school, diagnosed with a learning disability and a severe speech impediment. He was living in the rural community of Pleasant View, P.E.I at that time with very limited job skills. There was an absence of any public transportation and Kevin had no driver’s license. The prospects for meaningful employment within his surrounding community were not promising.

In the fall of that year with the help of his family Kevin made the decision to relocate to the city of Summerside P.E.I. Summerside is a small city of approximately 15,000 people and is 75 km from his home. He would, initially, be living away from the security of his family in a dimly lit basement apartment that was far from luxury. This was not an issue for Kevin because it was the beginning of a new life filled with the promise of freedom and the independence that he so craved.

Within a short time after his move Kevin was introduced to Community Connections. This is an organization that helps individuals living with intellectual disabilities to develop to their full potential. For some people it may mean being supported with life skills while for others their focus is centered on employment opportunities.

Source: Ready, Willing & Able, Volume 1, November 2013