When someone goes through a tough period in their lives they rely on their friends, families, co-workers and the coping skills they have acquired throughout their life. Paul is no different. With the support of family, friends and the Pathways to Independence community, he exhibited amazing strength and perseverance while recovering and bouncing back from injuries he suffered due to a car accident over the past year.
During his almost 20 years as a PTI participant, Paul has established social and independent-living skills, gained self-confidence and developed friendships, which helped him through this difficult time. “I have benefited from those skills being improved,” Paul says, “Pathways has helped me be less shy, learn to make friends and not to be afraid of things. I used to be afraid of being in large groups and going to new places. I’ve also learned about appropriate conversation topics, how to ask questions and not to be a conversation hog.” Paul also says that PTI, “has helped me to open up and say what is on my mind. I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’ve learned that I am outgoing, friendly and like to get out and do things” in the community. Overall, he says, “Pathways has taught me not to be afraid of the outside world.”
However, a year ago, Paul experienced something terrifying; he got into a terrible car accident. He broke both of his ankles, collar bone, broke a bone in his eye socket and had head trauma. Paul spent a lot of time in the hospital and in physical therapy. He had to learn to walk again. “I spent a lot of time in therapy strengthening my muscles, learning how to use my legs and feet again and get my balance back,” he said about his recovery. Paul’s mother was and continues to be a huge source of support for him. The PTI ‘family’ was also there for Paul, “I loved getting all the cards from participants and staff. It showed that a lot of people cared about me and it made me happy that I am part of a big group.” Paul worked extremely hard to get himself back to a place where he could be independent, he said, “It was a big challenge and I conquered it. That felt really great.”
Ever the optimist, Paul sees the bright side in a terrible situation. After the accident, he got his job back at a nursing home as a housekeeper. He now sees how every position in the facility contributes to the happiness of the patients. He said, “being in the patient’s position, it gave me the outlook of how the patients see the workers…I got to see how what I do makes them happy.”
Throughout the highs and lows, PTI has been a community Paul can count on for support. Being a part of a group and having that sense of belonging is something that so many of our participants crave and Paul has found that acceptance with Pathways to Independence.
Paul(left) with PTI staff and participants biking on the Katy Trail
Paul(left in green) at the 2013 PTI Holiday Party at Safety National