Olaf is a young-at-heart, 69-year-old gentleman who came to live at the High Clover Residential Site of Village Community Services in June of this year. He moved from a privately owned adult family home that, due to lack of funding, had to close its doors.
Prior to the adult family home, Olaf had lived with his mother in North Dakota for 50 years until her passing in 1995. Olaf grew up at his family home in semi-isolation, rarely leaving the farm. He had started school along with his brothers. However, this was prior to special education classes and the inclusion of children with developmental challenges in the schools. He was quickly labeled as “uneducable” and was not able to attend school after that. During the last years of his mother’s life, he took care of her to the best of his ability.
Fortunately, his brother and his wife, whom Olaf fondly refers to as “my sister”, rescued Olaf assuming guardianship and bringing him to their home in the Pacific Northwest. On his trip across the country, Olaf had the opportunity to shop at a Walmart for the first time. He was amazed beyond words at the sight of rows and rows of potential purchases. Due to his sister-in-law’s pursuit of resources for Olaf, he was able to secure benefits under the CAP waiver and move into an Adult Family Home.
In his new environment, Olaf’s social skills and life experiences increased by leaps and bounds. As one might imagine, this wasn’t always an easy process. But, with the support of his family, staff, and community, Olaf was prepared to move a second time, this time, into the more independent but supportive setting of High Clover. Olaf had to learn a different set of rules, get to know the two men with whom he was expected to live, and adapt to the presence and support style of a variety of friendly staff persons.
Fast forward to the fall of the same year, and it’s safe to say that Olaf has made a successful transition into life with Village Community Services. He has chosen a church to attend on Sundays, and he goes with his vocational staff for community access on Wednesdays. Olaf continues to pursue his love of shopping and is busy working with his staff to try out new community activities. He’s always up for a good laugh, and like so many of his generation has a story or two to tell, if we will take the time to listen.
Village Community Services supports people with disabilities in achieving personal potential at home, work and in community life.