Life Without Limits Summer/Fall 2010 : Page 1

Team Independence... both giving and getting Hope. When Hope Johnson receives her undergraduate degree in English from Messiah College (currently anticipated to occur in 2014) there will be a cadre of like-minded souls reveling in her achievement. Among them will be a small group of women who have invested their time, energy, and endless physical and emotional support toward a single goal: to help Hope achieve her dream of earning a college degree. That moment will serve not only as a personal and academic milestone for Hope, but for the college as well. Because when Hope graduates, she will earn the distinction of being the first nonverbal, nonambulatory graduate of Messiah College. Life L i m i t s without A biannual publication of UCP Central PA, dedicated to providing the community with news and opportunities to support our efforts to assist individuals with disabilities and their families...every day, in every way we can. summer/fall 2010 Issue 4 Hope Johnson (second from right) at home with the rest of “Team Independence” (left to right) Jill Cappellett and Ann Beasom of UCP; Linda Johnson-Bex, Hope’s mother; and attendant Angie Hoke. Since “Team Independence” (the moniker given Hope and her team of closest supporters) first came together in Summer 2007, each member has been instrumental in helping Hope make steady progress toward her dream. Meet the Team: Ann Beasom, a retired elementary school teacher, is Hope’s Community Integration Specialist. At least, that’s what her title says. In reality, she is Hope’s voice. For the past three years, Ann has accompanied Hope to all her classes and other academic functions. Her class notes have proven invaluable to Hope’s success at Messiah. Ann also is the primary keeper of the QWERTY board that serves as Hope’s principal communications medium. Joan Herrick, Hope’s primary daytime care attendant during the week, is a loyal, flexible, savvy, and alert protector of Hope’s general health and well-being. She awakens Hope each morning, helps with her activities of daily living, and sends Hope off to class. She maintains Hope’s dorm environment and even repairs Hope’s wheelchair! Joan makes sure all is well in Hope’s world before she leaves for the day! (continued on page 2) What’s inside: * Team Independence * UCP Events/Fundraisers * Agency Updates * Borders Clip&Save Voucher p. 2-3 p. 4-7 p. 8-12 p. 9 * United Way Partnership * Foundation Update * Online Update * Training Tips p. 11 p. 12 p. 13 p. 13 * Books in Brief * In Memoriam * Spotlight Column * President’s Corner p. 14 p. 14 p. 15 p. 16

Team Independence

<b>Both giving and getting Hope.<br /> <br /> When Hope Johnson receives her undergraduate degree in English</b> from Messiah College (currently anticipated to occur in 2014) there will be a cadre of like-minded souls reveling in her achievement. Among them will be a small group of women who have invested their time, energy, and endless physical and emotional support toward a single goal: to help Hope achieve her dream of earning a college degree.<br /> <br /> That moment will serve not only as a personal and academic milestone for Hope, but for the college as well.<br /> <br /> Because when Hope graduates,<b>She will earn the distinction of being the first nonverbal, nonambulatory graduate of Messiah College.</b><br /> <br /> Since<b>“Team Independence</b>(the moniker given Hope and her team of closest supporters) first came together in Summer 2007, each member has been instrumental in helping Hope make steady progress toward her dream. Meet the Team:<br /> <br /> <b>Ann Beasom,</b>A retired elementary school teacher, is Hope’s Community Integration Specialist. At least, that’s what her title says. In reality, she is Hope’s voice. For the past three years, Ann has accompanied Hope to all her classes and other academic functions. Her class notes have proven invaluable to Hope’s success at Messiah. Ann also is the primary keeper of the QWERTY board that serves as Hope’s principal communications medium.<br /> <br /> <b>Joan Herrick,</b>Hope’s primary daytime care attendant during the week, is a loyal, flexible, savvy, and alert protector of Hope’s general health and well-being. She awakens Hope each morning, helps with her activities of daily living, and sends Hope off to class. She maintains Hope’s dorm environment and even repairs Hope’s wheelchair! Joan makes sure all is well in Hope’s world before she leaves for the day!<br /> <br /> <b>Angela Hoke</b> is a Special Education paraprofessional in the West Shore School District during the school year and is Hope’s personal care attendant every other weekend. She assists with Hope’s reading assignments and is a cheerful, much adored addition to the team.<br /> <br /> <b>Jill Cappellett</b> is Hope’s Service Coordinator. Like Ann, Jill is employed by UCP Central PA. In this particular case, she’s got the easiest job of all: ensuring that all the others are doing theirs… and that Hope is receiving the comprehensive support she needs and deserves.<br /> <br /> <b>Bryna Williams</b>, a CNA with many years experience, is the newest addition to the team, serving as Hope’s evening care attendant.<br /> <br /> Hope’s mother, <b>Linda</b>, has been a fierce advocate and loyal supporter throughout Hope’s journey. She marvels at her daughter’s ability to <b>“wake up every morning with a smile on her face. It is the best part of my day,”</b> Linda says.<br /> <br /> Missing from the graduation celebration, but definitely there in spirit, will be one other woman who has played a significant role in Hope’s growth and development: her “Gram” who passed away in 2006. Of her grandmother, who she described as “tiny but mighty,” Hope says <b>“My aide all through high school did not think I was college material, but my Gram insisted that I most certainly was!”</b><br /> <br /> [It ends up that Gram certainly had the better take on Hope’s abilities and motivations. In addition to being an “A” student, Hope has been accepted into Sigma Tau Delta, the international English society. She has also and been named to “Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities.”]<br /> <br /> <b>The heart of the team</b><br /> <br /> <b>Make no mistake:</b> While each of these women have played a distinct and defining role as members of Team Independence, <b>the heart of the team is its principal, Hope herself.</b> There would be no Team Independence without Hope’s inspiration, motivation, strength of spirit, and tenacity.<br /> <br /> Rather than see herself as physically challenged, Hope alternately describes herself as “lucky, blessed, and gifted.” When asked what has been the most significant benefit of her relationship with UCP, Hope enthused, <b>“It has been the opportunity to live independently (with the help of my mom and attendants of course) and receive a college Education. It proves that I can do anything with my life, even live in a dorm not especially designed for individuals who have physical limitations. I never thought this possible before my involvement with UCP. I find myself so lucky to live at a time where the general public accepts physical disabilities.”</b><br /> <br /> That acceptance has made all the difference in the world for Hope.<br /> <br /> For three years prior to transferring to Messiah, Hope attended college in North Carolina at a school that was designed expressly to accommodate the needs of people with physical disabilities. <b>Unfortunately, as Hope learned, accessibility is a far cry from acceptance.</b><br /> <br /> Today, she couldn’t be more enthusiastic or excited about her experience at Messiah. <b> “Combined with the academic experience, the overall campus venture at Messiah College has been very positive,”</b> Hope says. <b> “I’ve always been motivated to get my college degree, but the experience at Messiah College has been so much more than that. It is the general feeling of fitting in, being just one of the students.<br /> <br /> The atmosphere at Messiah has been extremely welcoming. Everyone is so friendly and accepting. I feel that my Cerebral Palsy is overlooked in the classroom, as well as in the campus setting, and my academic abilities take center stage. That’s awesome!”</b><br /> <br /> Not to be outdone, <b>Dr. Keith Drahn, Director of Disability Services at Messiah</b> (and honorary member of Team Independence) declares that theirs is a mutual admiration.Dr. Drahn, too, has played a key role in helping Hope reach this point in her academic life. He is the one who initially insisted that Hope and her mother contact UCP about getting the support she needed, not only to attend college at Messiah, but to live independently on campus. So Hope’s graduation will signify a special moment for him personally and professionally as well.<br /> <br /> Just as Hope has benefited from the services Dr. Drahn’s department has provided, Messiah has, in turn, become even better equipped to accommodate a student with special needs. <b> “Now, several years later, Hope, having trained us all in what works best for her, is excelling in her studies and growing in confidence and grace,” Dr. Drahn says. “I have no doubt that Hope will be able to fully achieve her educational goals at Messiah College. She is already making us proud.”</b><br /> <br /> The summer break between academic years is a time of rest and relaxation to which all students look forward. But for Hope, it is a much-needed time of recuperation as well.It takes her almost a month of eating and sleeping to recover from her strenuous schedule at school.<br /> <br /> Hope’s time at school is pretty much constantly spent on her classwork. She does all her computer entry with just one toe, leaving her exhausted. <b>“When I finally emerge from academic stupor, I go to our cottage at the beach, and take it as easy as possible in preparation for the new onslaught of work when the next semester begins.”</b><br /> <br /> Relaxation for Hope typically includes sitting on the beach, listening to audiotapes, writing poetry, and hanging out with friends. She is also a history buff; and loves to watch historical movies and documentaries. The Office of Disability Services at Messiah College provides Hope with her next semester’s books in computer-readable form, also known as electronic-text (or e-text). By mid-summer, she has already begun her academic work for the coming fall.<br /> <br /> So, when the fall 2010 semester began, each member of Team Independence was there, by Hope’s side, encouraging and supporting her. But to hear them tell it, <b>they are the beneficiaries in this relationship.</b> To a person, they share sentiments like, “What I give Hope doesn’t begin to measure up aginst what I get from her,” and “Her name says it all,” and “Hope is God’s grace in human form.”<br /> <br /> <b>What’s next for Hope?</b><br /> <br /> So what’s Hope’s next big dream following college graduation? The answer flows quickly and unequivocally from her heart to her toe: To be successfully employed and putting her skills and talent as a writer to good use by promoting disability awareness. <b>“Since I have first-hand knowledge about coping with a disability, I feel I can give voice for those who are less fortunate. I have been given so many gifts and opportunities that I feel it is essential to share those opportunities with someone who is motivated, but is trapped inside his or her body.”</b><br /> <br /> When asked, Hope says that the UCP tag line “life without limits” is much more than a slogan. <b> “If I were conversing with someone who had never heard of UCP, I would tell them that the opportunities are limitless for those who are involved with the program.<br /> <br /> “With perseverance, self-motivation, faith in yourself and others’ faith in your abilities,”</b> Hope writes, <b>“I believe your wildest dreams are possible.”</b><br /> <br /> Self-Motivation. Perseverance. Faith. And above all, Hope.That sure sounds like a recipe for success.

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