These Driven Women Prove That There Are No Limits to Personal Success
Our consumers show us time and again that ‘disability’ is merely a term, and not one that limits them from achieving their full potential. Here, we highlight two very special young women who receive services from BCL and also work for us in our main office. Both of them received medals at the Special Olympics this year, in addition to their many other talents and accomplishments.
Meet Ashley, 25 years old, driven, enthusiastic, and one of the most caring young ladies you’ll meet at BCL. Recognize her? It’s because she’s the friendly face greeting people at the 5 Ventura Drive front desk.
“I’ve worked here for about three years now. I’ve always done reception work,” Ashley says, who notes that when she first started, she offered to help with anything that was needed. “I was doing basic phone calls, shredding, whatever they needed help with in the office.”
Ashley, who lives in Dartmouth, is full of energy and life. When she’s not enjoying her work at BCL, or at her second job over at Anytime Fitness, she loves going out with her staff, hitting up the beach, and listening to music. Her favorite? Rap! Ashley’s lucky too. She enjoys every chance she has to visit her family in East Wareham. “I like to visit my parents as they’re getting a little bit older,” she says.
Ashley has resided within a BCL home for several years, and enjoys living with her current roommate. “We pretty much get along good together. We go out and we do things on the weekends. I like to be more active, and like them fitting me with someone else that’s perfect to get along with.”
While Ashley has countless admirable traits, perhaps her most recent inspiring moment was her ‘win’ at this year’s Special Olympics. She says she’s always been kind of active, enjoying going for walks and sports. “I love to play basketball,” she adds, “And I’m a big Patriots fan.”
“I never thought I’d do the Special Olympics,” Ashley says, “but I put myself to a challenge and I got two bronze medals. One was for the javelin throw and one for the shotput throw.” Not only did Ashley love competing, she loved the entire experience.
“We stayed at Boston University, at a dorm room, and we went to a restaurant and had chicken. Then the busses would shuttle us to Harvard University where the Special Olympics were held. And actually, my staff took me, and me and my staff had a good time.”
Staying with her staff chaperone, Aisha, Ashley says, “She helped me and supported me through everything, through the whole thing… and she cheered me on when I was throwing.” Ashley also enjoyed seeing a couple of her friends from other local agencies.
When asked where the idea to compete came from, Ashley said, “It came from my heart. I’m a very caring person. When I decide to do something, I strive to do it.” And of course, when she heard her name called, she was overjoyed. “I felt very happy, excited that I got two bronze medals… “I told everybody!”
Ashley loves interacting with people, and says she hopes that someday she’ll find a job in the mall in retail work. She’s also constantly excited about her future. “My life goal is to live with my staff doing the program that they have, Shared Living.”
Ashley describes herself as this. “I push myself beyond limits. That’s what I do.
Until then, however, Ashley enjoys her life and loves the opportunity she’s been given to work for BCL. “I care for a lot of people at BCL. It’s been good. I’ve been able to get along with everybody here. I’ve been here for three years and absolutely love it. When I earn my money, I spend it wisely. I don’t spend on foolish things. I save up for things I want,” she says.
“I do whatever it takes,” Ashley adds. “I work the front desk, and I do the Children’s Program with Cathy Tremblay. All the children that I work with are very nice to me. I help them out. Whatever Cathy needs me to do. I’m in the BCL day hab every month…. BCL got me this job, so I thank all the people here who have gotten me strong. I consider them all like family to me. They keep me on my feet.”
Meet Sarah, 31 years old, dedicated, responsible, soft-spoken, genuine, warm, loving, happy… Her list of amazing qualities goes on!
Sarah has worked for two years over at the front desk of BCL’s 5 Ventura Drive office. When asked what her work is like, she responds, “I just love it.” It’s clear Sarah is very good at her job. She manages numerous tasks all at once, from answering phone calls to letting in visitors, filing papers, and assisting the staff with their various projects. She even helps with the Human Rights Trainings with Marina. “I help her with the training for the staff… I just love it,” Sarah remarks.
However, what stands out most is her ear-to-ear smile that lights up the room when anyone walks in. A visitor, coming back on a return visit to BCL, was immediately recognized by Sarah who said, “Oh! You’re back!,” to which she quickly made small talk with him.
Outside of her work at BCL, Sarah’s had big goals and ambitions to excel in another arena – the Special Olympics. “I’ve been doing it for a couple years now. I like the running,” Sarah says. Discussing this year’s Special Olympics, she modestly adds, “I did track and field and actually did good. I got two medals.”
That’s right! Sarah was awarded with two medals in this year’s Special Olympics, earning Bronze and Gold medals in the shotput and turbo javelin competitions.” While showing admiration for her medal accomplishments, Sarah amazes with, “I’ve had a couple!”
Success comes from hard work though. There’s training involved, Sarah says. “We usually practice at UMass Dartmouth with our coach Jenna. She’s very nice. We practice every Sunday through the summer.” When asked if she’ll keep competing, Sarah says she will. It’s a lot of hard work and practice, she says adding, “I just love it.”
Sarah also talked about enjoying the experience, like staying at Boston University and being away for the entire weekend. “The last two years, we’ve been going to a chicken place in Boston.” (Someone else once mentioned this chicken too!)
When Sarah isn’t working at BCL, or training to win Gold medals, she lives in New Bedford with a roommate. “She’s very nice and friendly,” Sarah says, “I’ve been there just about a year.” She also has another job over at Anytime Fitness. “I clean. I love it. People are friendly. The lady I work for, Michaela, is so friendly,” Sarah says.
In her spare time, Sarah loves shopping and “just getting out,” as she puts it. She also loves listening to music, noting that NSYNC is what’s playing on her Pandora right now. Oh, and she also likes history. “I went to King Richard’s Faire with my roommate, and my manager and my staff. I loved it,” she says.
Sarah adds, “I wouldn’t be able to do it without my manager. Her name is Anita Coelho. We’re really close. She helps me with everything, managing my money, appointments. We’ve become good friends too.”
When asking Sarah to describe herself, the answer is no surprise after talking with her. “I’m a friendly person,” she says. “It’s just a natural quality.” Sarah hugs friends, even brand new ones, who visit BCL and greets everyone with a smile. Her joy, enthusiasm, and commitment to her goals is inspiring, and she can’t thank BCL enough for all its support.
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