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Vocational Success Stories, Debbie

Debbie high in the air!Debbie is a woman with Cerebral Palsy. Debbie lived at home with her parents until the age of fourteen, when she was placed in ”The Gardens”, an Intermediate Care Facility for adults with severe physical disabilities. In her words: ”I hated it there! The quality of care wasn’t very good. It was very structured so I didn’t have many choices in my life. It was a noisy place, and people were grumpy and arguing all the time.

"My family lived in the Bay Area so it was hard to visit. I didn’t think I had any choices so I lived there at the Gardens until I was thirty. One day I met a man named Kelly, and he told me I should talk to my Alta CA Regional Center Case Manager about Supported Living. I did, and I moved to my first apartment on September 1, 1999.”

Since then Debbie has moved four times, but now she lives in an apartment of her own. Debbie’s parents have both passed away. Debbie protesting at the State CapitolThat was and will always be her biggest sorrow. But life goes on and she has so many dreams and goals to accomplish. Debbie started attending Extra Step—Medically Fragile Day Program in 2002.

So many things have happened for Debbie. She travels, and loves to fly and stay in hotels. She camps every year, but in 2006 went bungee jumping! STEP Vocational Staff support helped Debbie as she attended classes at American River College where she studied Child Development and Political Science.

Debbie wants to take her education and vast personal knowledge of what it means to be a Californian with a developmental disability and work as an advisory consultant for people with disabilities. A recent assignment was for California Protection and Advocacy’s five year projection plan drafted in May 2007. Debbie has testified before the California Assembly Budget Committee on matters concerning disability. Most recently, Debbie has been awarded a grant from Alta California Regional Center to develop a Self-Advocacy/Community Education business where she will travel as a Consultant to individuals, groups, businesses, and political representatives.

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