Connections Case Manager Tara Bowlen shared that Steven and his Bloomington South High School Track and Field team just won their first ever Unified Track and Field sectional championship. Steven won in the long jump competition. He and his teammate were awarded the Captain Award by their coaches based on sportsmanship, integrity and leadership. Steven and his team were featured in The Herald-Times. Way to go Steven!!
Connections Supervisor, Rick Harden, would like to introduce you to one of Connections Rockstars, Easton. Easton was born very small, weighing around four pounds; with a rare chromosomal micro-deletion. He was discharged from the hospital on hospice at six months of age with a feeding tube and low oxygen levels. Easton has overcome some major deficits to be where he is at today and Connections Case Management would like to spot light Easton and congratulate him on the cusp of his fifth birthday! You are an amazing young man, Easton, keep up the amazing progress and continue to defy the odds!!!!
Connections Case Manager, LaVada Brooks has a client, Isaiah, who makes an annual Christmas donation to Norton Children’s Hospital in the amount that coincide with his age each year. His mother, Felicia, described to LaVada how this annual tradition got started. “Isaiah was supposed to be a Thanksgiving day Turkey baby. Well plans changed. Isaiah ended up coming early via emergency c-section. He had to be resuscitated three times. Isaiah weighted 2 lbs. 5 oz and was 15 1/2 inches long. He was full of fight. Soon after checking they discovered he had a moderately large VSD in his heart. One day when I was with him he stopped breathing in my arms. When I could not wake him I pulled his call cord and the nurse came in. She proceeded to try and do it herself. When she could not wake him she called a code. Five nurses came in and started trying to bring him back. When Isaiah started to cry, as soon as I took a breath I broke down. This is the moment through everything where I promised to God that if Isaiah made it out of there happy, healthy, and alive we would give back to them. Isaiah had a damaged kidney and would have to have open heart surgery before he could go home. The nurses in the NICU walked us through a difficult path. There were literally life and death days. Then there were days when Isaiah drinking 1 oz out of a bottle was the most amazing thing ever! There is magic there in the form of miracles. They take care of not only the patients but the families there going through it to. Isaiah now has a NICU granny Jennifer Turner who stayed on as his primary nurse his whole time there. They have saved Isaiah's life more than a few times. So we will forever be thankful for all that they have given us in our son Isaiah. We are teaching him to be thankful and giving. He is growing to be an amazing little man and we thank God for him every day. We have donated items to the NICU that they are in need of. Last year we donated 4 Mamaroo chairs. This year Isaiah donated 2 crib mobiles and 3 specialty mats that they needed for some of the older babies that have to stay longer.” Isaiah is 5 years old this year! What an awesome story, thanks for the inspiration and for sharing!
Connections Case Manager, Jenn Priser stated that MacKenzie's mother sent her this picture of Makenzie holding the trophy from her track team winning sectionals. She started track this year and was extremely nervous about it, but it has been an awesome experience for her. Way to go MacKenzie!!
Connections Supervisor, Kelie Killu, shared this success story with us. Jessica is a young woman on the autism spectrum who learned to do beading during her Project Search internship her last year of high school. The Project Search team received a Creative Classroom grant from Lawrence Township Education Foundation to make Meditation Beads for Community Hospital North. Out of all the Project Search interns at the time, she was chosen to work on this project. During the internship, over 180 bracelets were given to patients at Community Hospital North Cancer Center. The project was then expanded, and bracelets were given to all Lawrence Township bus drivers and transportation staff following the tragic death of Amy Beverland Elementary principal, Mrs. Susan Jordan. At the end of the internship, Jess and her instructor created her own Etsy Page as a way for her to continue what she had learned. Jess has continued making bracelets at home and has added lots of new items to her collection such as earrings, rosary beads, keychains, bookmarks and even facemask lanyards! She loves coming up with new designs and posting them before the next holiday is coming, so that her customers can show off her designs in spirited fashion! Jessica is very proud of her work and appreciates all of the support that has been shown to her! Please “like” Designer Beads by Jess on Facebook and Instagram and check out her Etsy shop for more information on her amazing talents!
Meet Andrew! His case manager, Jolie Capps shared that Andrew recently received his Technical Certificate in Software Development from Ivy Tech Community College. He is currently working towards his Associates Degree. Andrew is a valued employee at his local grocery store, active in Special Olympics, and recently received his learner's permit to work toward getting his driver's license. He is a wonderful friend and advocate for others. He does a great job of balancing his very full schedule.
Connections Case Management Operations Director, Heather Groves, shared this success story with us.
"Shoutout to Casey who has been an employee with TJ Maxx for 5 years! She is proudly displaying her 5 year pin that represents all the hard work she’s put in over the years. And on top of 5 years of service, she’s NEVER missed a day of work! Way to go Casey! Connections is proud of you!"
Case Manager Aubrey Quinn shared with us that Elliot just recently celebrated their 15th birthday and attended prom! Their birthday weekend was filled with celebrating with their family and friends. Great pictures Elliot! Thanks for sharing with us!
Connections Supervisor, Amanda Sparks, shared this success story with us. "Andrew was let go from both of his jobs at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. Andrew is very hardworking and loves to work, so this was tough for him. Andrew has a love for dogs and animals. Over the past year, Andrew and his family have been in touch with 4Paws Lodge in Fishers, IN, consistently checking in to see if they were hiring before they had their grand opening. Andrew was officially hired on at the end of this March and has been doing such a great job and has been working without a job coach or assistance. 4 Paws is so pleased with his work and dedication that they are wanting to add in more hours to his work schedule each week. Awesome work Andrew, we are so happy for you!"
Connections Case Managers get the opportunity to work with individuals with lots of unique stories that show off their abilities and successes. We want to share their stories and successes with all of you.
Meet Tommy! Connections Supervisor, Kera Sutherland let us know that one of her individuals will be the Grand Marshall for the Down Syndrome Association of Northeast Indiana Buddy Walk in Fort Wayne on September 9, 2021. He got to meet the Mayor last week!
Connections Case Manager, Courtney Glasson, shared with us a great success story of an individual he serves. “Ariel began planning her wedding in 2019 and her plans came to fruition in July of 2020. Due to COVID, there was some question as to whether they would be able to make it happen but, in the end, they were able to have the wedding as planned. Her family has supported her every step of the way and continue to support her as she strives toward greater levels of independence. She recently moved out of her parents' home and into her own apartment, another first for her. Her recent marriage and move are not the only causes for celebration. To say that this young woman is inspirational would be an understatement. When she is not working at her community job or working on improving her independent living skills, she can be found volunteering, learning how to play the guitar, or taking cooking lessons. I am very proud to be a part of her team and look forward to having the opportunity to support her, cheer her on, and celebrate all of her future accomplishments!!!” Congratulations on achieving your dream Ariel!