When Lucia began receiving services from the St. Louis Arc eight years ago, her goal was to move out of her parents’ home. The thought of finding a roommate, paying rent, and managing utilities seemed overwhelming at the time. However, through building her community connections, she has been successful! Today, Lucia and her new husband share a condo, work, and have built a positive circle of support.
Lucia and her mom first began working with Beth Moeller, Director of Community Living, when they wanted to identify what was next for Lucia after high school. With Beth’s support, Lucia determined that she wanted to move out on her own. Lucia knew she wanted to find an apartment close to her parents, so they could continue to be an important part of her community. She was able to search for the right roommate in the right area by using the supports offered through Connect. Additionally, she worked with Beth to identify what the cost of rent would be and what utilities and other bills she should expect. Within 18 months, Lucia moved into her first apartment.
As Lucia became more comfortable living independently, she was able to buy a condo. She credits part of her success to being friendly and getting to know her neighbors, people who are now part of her circle. Lucia has built a relationship with her neighbor. The neighbor helped feed Lucia’s dog and Lucia helped get the neighbor’s mail while they were out of town. Lucia understands the importance of her community. She shared “community means getting to know people, so you can trust others and feel safe.”
Recently Lucia married her longtime boyfriend, and the two of them live happily with their dog in the condo. Lucia continues to keep the Arc as part of her community. Prior to her wedding, she met with a member of the Connect team to review her budget and keep her wedding tasks organized. Connect continues to support Lucia in budgeting, maintaining a cleaning routine that won’t become overwhelming, and staying up-to-date on her dogs’ needs. Being able to use tools like a cleaning calendar that is visible on the fridge, and creating an online account for dog food to be delivered, has helped Lucia succeed.
Lucia has worked hard to achieve her goal of independent living. Identifying and maintaining a positive community circle has helped support her. Staying close to family, finding the right roommates, getting to know her neighbors, and continuing support from the Arc have all been tools she has used to maintain her community connection.