Bruce Finds a Place Where he Belongs
Pathways to Independence has been a major part of Bruce’s life for almost twenty years. Bruce says that PTI gives him purpose, a place to “feel normal” and an opportunity to contribute, whatever the cause or project may be.
Bruce comes from a long line of family members who have worked hard to achieve their goals, both personal and professional. That same work ethic and ingenuity has helped Bruce in his career and his life. He has a degree in Business Administration and has worked at several hospitals and libraries in the St. Louis-area including St. Louis University Hospital.
Bruce, like almost all PTI participants, joined Pathways to Independence initially to make friends. “I like to feel like I’m part of a group,” Bruce says. His desire to contribute and work towards a common goal lends itself to PTI. He especially enjoys cooking class and working with the group to make a meal together, “I like working on one thing together…I know I’m doing something to help and be a part of the group.”
Bruce has trouble hearing and processing, which can be a hindrance when meeting new people and engaging in conversation. However, Bruce works hard to overcome his challenges and with the help of program staff, he has been able to forge connections with fellow participants. Program Manager, Rose, often points out other participants Bruce might have interests in common with or when a good time might be to interject in the conversation, “Rose helps me to socialize,” he says.
Though he is no longer able to work, Bruce volunteers in the office at Pathways to Independence every Friday morning. Volunteering is something Bruce looks forward to every week and thoroughly enjoys doing. “The things I do here [at the PTI office] need to be done. I feel important here,” Bruce says about volunteering.
Everyone strives for a place to belong, where they feel accepted and can contribute. For Bruce, Pathways to Independence provides that sense of purpose and a place to belong, where, he says, “I feel normal.”
Bruce(left) with Terri at her Farewell Party last October