This story comes courtesy of Diana Fedinec, with Shelby Residential & Vocational Services. Names have been changed to protect privacy.
58-year-old Amelia does not like to stay at home all day, and it’s clear she loves the Kramer Activity Center at Shelby Residential & Vocational Services (SRVS), a partner agency in United Way’s network of care.
Amelia was diagnosed with mental disabilities fifty years ago. As time has passed, both she and her mother have aged. When Amelia’s mother suffered a stroke, she was unable to care for Amelia’s needs as she had in the past.
According to Amelia’s sister, “after Mother’s stroke, making sure Amelia was cared for became my responsibility. Taking care of Amelia can be a full-time job, and from time to time we all need a break! When I heard about SRVS, I thought it could be a great place for Amelia to spend some time and learn new skills.”
Working with counselors, Amelia now spends five days each week in a high-energy classroom setting with friends her own age. She has learned to better recognize colors and shapes, to tie her shoes and even is beginning to learn the letters of the alphabet. When asked about her favorite part of attending class in the center, she says that she cannot just pick one thing.
“Everything is great here,” Amelia exclaimed. Her sister agrees, and says that Amelia has never enjoyed herself more.
“Amelia has never been so happy in her life,” she said. “She enjoys going to the center each day. When she comes home, that’s what she talks about – her day at the center. On the weekends, she tells us she can’t wait to go back to the center on Monday.”
“For Amelia to be able to go to SRVS, it’s the greatest gift that she’ll ever receive,” she said. “It takes a special kind of person with a big heart to work with people with mental challenges on a day-to-day basis. It’s like God sent us an angel.”
Thanks to your generous support of United Way, SRVS is able to provide meaningful days to over 292 adults with developmental disabilities in Memphis and the Mid-South. United Way funding provides additional support for day activities, sheltered workshops and residential services that are desperately needed.