Alternatives Community Program Services – Supporting Individuals

Alternatives Community Program Services has been supporting individuals with disabilities in Peterborough and Peterborough County for over twenty seven years, it is difficult to sit and isolate one specific story of success when there has been so many.

Many of the wonderful people that come in to our lives do so when they are at one of the lowest points, not knowing where to turn for support in daily living, in community connections or in the area that I oversee, employment.

After some much intense discussion with staff we as a team have decided to tell the story of a young lady with a developmental disability who found her salvation through our employment supports program and began a new journey and found a life full of success and more love and support then she could have ever imagined.
We will call this young lady Jane. Jane had been through it all, although visible with her compulsions assimilated with her diagnosis of FASD and developmental delay she was the smartest street person many of us have ever met, or will ever have the privilege of meeting again. It didn’t matter what situation she found herself in all the wrong people always became her friend. She was promiscuous; she did more than just dabble in drugs and alcohol and blew off her support staff whenever possible.

Eventually Jane became pregnant and her child was taken and placed in the care of an aunt. This only fueled Jane’s aggressive tendencies and sent her on a downward spiral of depression. Eventually even her visitation rights were revoked and she felt completely alone in the world with nothing to strive for. Jane’s dedicated support staff tried everything to turn her life around, putting small practices in place to help Jane learn the skill sets necessary to live an independent lifestyle and earn back the visitation sessions with her baby.

It wasn’t an easy task and didn’t happen overnight, but eventually Jane began to make some very good choices. Jane became to accept support on a regular basis and tried very hard to develop some necessary skills to learn to live independently and control her anger. Jane became more involved with Alternatives and strived to become the person she always wanted to be, helping other clients with their learning plans and suggesting good choices for them.

Jane was doing well but still she felt that she could give more, she wanted to be like everyone else, she wanted to have a job. Jane came in to the Employment Supports program and set to work on what types of things she liked to do. Because Jane had spent so much of her time on the streets she found it difficult to adjust to the first couple of work placements she had. She didn’t like to be in an office and she didn’t like to feel as if people were consistently watching her and judging her. It became to wear on Jane’s fragile self-esteem.

One day while Jane was waiting for her job coach to finish up some paper work she began weeding the gardens at Alternatives, before any of us knew it she had done some amazing landscaping work and the property looked fantastic. Jane had found what she wanted to do.

Alternatives ended up hiring Jane and she worked for us until she made the move towards her home to be closer to her baby. Jane now has a full skill set and employment history for her next position and is able to see her baby on a regular basis. Although Jane has thanked us all for the changes that have come to her life we as an organization and family thank her as well as she has taught all of us that even the most challenging individuals that appears to have the highest barriers, want what everyone else wants and they can achieve it!

Jennifer Cormier
Program Director
Alternatives Community Program Services
Employment Supports Program, and
Individualized Supports Services