Ashley and Crystal: Both Skills and Friendship Blossom
Crystal and Ashley met many years ago, long before they joined PTI as participants. The met briefly and then when Ashley’s mother broke her ankle and needed help, Crystal and her family had just moved in across the hall and were there to help Ashley and her mother.
Crystal discovered PTI and joined first. She says, “Before PTI, I was very shy and was always in my room by myself. I didn’t have many friends, but I wanted to meet more people. Once I joined PTI, I was stand off-ish at first, but I was encouraged by Rose and the other staff to interact with the group at Social Growth events.”
Ashley soon followed suit and became a PTI participant as well. She says, “I have always been outgoing, but before Pathways, I struggled with being socially appropriate, handling conflicts and communicating my feelings. For example, I’ve learned how to better communicate with my co-workers and managers to solve conflicts in the workplace, specifically through the Successful Communication in the Workplace Social College.”
Resolving conflicts, compromising and utilizing problem solving steps have been issues for both Crystal and Ashley throughout their friendship. PTI staff have coached them to resolve many of their conflicts that typically come up between friends over many years. “Our friendship has not always been perfect; we’ve had fights and clashes over the years. We have used the PTI staff, especially Rose, as a resource to help us solve our conflicts and find ways to prevent arguments in the future,” Crystal says.
Ashley has experienced the sense of community and support from the PTI community of participants, staff, supporters and families. “Not only has PTI helped me with social skills, it is a supportive community that has helped me with my educational goals. When I was studying for my CNA license, the staff and other PTI supporters helped me pass my test.” When she gave a speech at PTI’s Annual Trivia Night where she talked about her upcoming test, supporters came out of the woodwork to help in any way they could.
Earlier this year, at PTI’s Annual Picnic, Crystal and Ashley gave a speech about their friendship and how PTI has positively affected both of their lives. They were both able to share their experience with PTI and how they use our organization as a resource for so many aspects of their lives. Crystal ended the speech by saying, “PTI is not just for the participants, it is good for the whole community. PTI advocates for people with disabilities and helps us show the public that we can contribute too.”