Olesia T. was born in the Ukraine where she grew up in a boarding school/ orphanage. At the age of 16, she was adopted by an American family and moved to Bucks County, Pa. Adjusting to a completely new culture and way of life was very challenging. She needed to learn how to function within a family unit, having suddenly gained two parents and six siblings. Olesia worked hard to learn English and develop a social network. Although it was a major life change, Olesia slowly adjusted and as her confidence grew, she began to envision new possibilities for her future. Olesia set goals for herself:
• Find a job in the community
• Live in her own apartment
She obtained vocational skill training through the Bucks Co. Intermediate Unit 22 WOW (We’re Out-provider agency. standing Workers) program, and soon achieved her first goal, when she secured a part-time job at a doggie daycare. Olesia was enrolled in the Community Living right around the time that she was aging out of the educational system. This meant that funding would be available to provide ongoing employment supports to assist her in maintaining employment beyond age 21, when Intermediate Unit supports were no longer available to her.
Olesia knew she would need to further develop her money management and independent living skills in order to be successful living in her own apartment, so her Supports Coordinator Penn Foundation began the search for a Lifesharing provider and Olesia eventually decided LifePath as the provider agency. She was able to meet another young woman, who became her housemate and Lifesharing provider, assisting Olesia in developing these skills. Olesia moved into her new living arrangement in July 2018. She is budgeting and learning to cook, something she developed a passion for while in the WOW program. The Community Living waiver has opened many doors for Olesia and it will be exciting to see what the future holds for her.
(Story provided by Penn Foundation)