Success Stories

Help us celebrate the success of our community by reading their stories of achievement.

Meet P.

Hello! My name is P. I learned about the Self Determination Group through a friend who invited me to one of her classes she was teaching. I found myself very interested in what she was saying and doing in the class. And I said to myself, this is something I would like to help with and try to do also.

I joined the weekly meetings. After a couple of weeks, I started to be more and more involved. I am very shy at first. But I am becoming more talkative and coming out of my shell. I feel really good about my knowledge and what I have learned since joining this team.

I have a go to channel on You Tube. It is called the Self Determination Channel. I find it very useful to the group too. I really enjoy reading other people’s stories in the “in the spotlight, shining the light on”

I like to help other people. And I like to be on the Self Determination team.

Meet G.

We first met G. in March of 2020.  His family needed support when COVID hit and his day time activities were cancelled, leaving him with nothing to do during the day while his family had to work.  G.  was not able to stay home alone.  We welcomed him with open arms, glad to be able to provide support to someone in need during a crisis.

When G.  first started, he was shy, quiet, kept to himself and even fell asleep.  As we got to know G., we struggled with learning his interests because he was very shy.  As our relationship developed and we got to know him, and he got to know us, G.  became smiling, laughing, cracking jokes and slowly making friendships. 

As the year went on, G.  decided he had made friendships with people in the Building Full Lives Program and wanted to continue exploring this program more.  This opportunity has supported G.  to come out of his shell, being more talkative, laughing, interacting and making his own choices.  G.  can’t wait to get out into the community, explore new things that he chooses and make new friends. 

Being in BFL, C.’s self-esteem is blooming.  She is becoming more confident in herself.   She is learning she is smart.  She is capable.  She is worthy.  She is valued.

Meet C.

C. began attending the Connections program about 5 years ago.  When she first started, she was very unsure of herself, scared to try new things and afraid of people she didn’t know.  C. began opening up as she got to know the staff and participants at Connections.

When C. transitioned into the Building Full Lives Program, she really began to grow.  C. has always craved attention.  She needs to be continuously encouraged to build her confidence.  C. is now able to connect very closely with her friends in the BFL program.  She has learned to make decisions and plan and voice her opinions.  C. tends to apologize often when she asks for things, as she feels she is an inconvenience to others.  She is very vocal about being nervous or afraid to try new things.

She often says she has never done this or that and is ‘afraid to try something new’.  C. is also extremely thankful for everything.  Whether it’s taking her to the movies or helping her open a fruit cup.  The gratitude is the same.  She says over and over “thank for you for doing that for me”.  C.  also struggles with decisions.  She often asks ‘that’s a good idea, right?”  She is constantly seeking direction from others.

Her friends look forward to seeing her and doing things with her.  She is missed when she isn’t there.  She is learning how to handle a change of plans because it is explained to her and talked about.  Bring in her smaller group gives her that added attention she so desperately craves and needs o feel good about herself.

Each day C. learns that she can do more things on her own then she ever thought possible and she gets so excited about it.  We often hear now “I am learning new things today”, rather than “I’m afraid to try new things”.   C. will still ask “that’s a good idea, right” but now will follow it up with “I have good ideas”.

C. is also learning her likes and dislikes.  She enjoys the planning of her day.  She is in charge of her day.  She has learned it is possible to do the things she didn’t think she could.

One of C.’s friends she has made through BFL, loves animals, especially cats.  They were talking about different ways to see cats or learn about them.  As they were talking about cats, the conversation moved to lions and tigers.  C. told her friend she never saw a lion or a tiger.  They agreed they wanted to see a lion and a tiger… but how?  They got to work and found a Sanctuary in the WI Dells.  How far is that? Could they actually go there?  How much money does it cost?  They walked through and researched a series of questions to prepare to go there.  They decided when they would need to leave, that they should pack a lunch, what to wear, etc.  And made it happen.  They had a fantastic day!  This is how the BFL program works and how it can truly make a difference in someone’s life.

“Opportunity Inc. came and rescued my daughter from being pulled out of a home she had known and lived in for 14 years, since leaving our home together. Opportunity Inc. took over her care when her prior caretakers closed the home. Opportunity Inc. has shown my daughter so much caring and compassion from day one. I visit at least once a week and find my daughter well-dressed, happy, and very content. Opportunity Inc. takes responsibility for taking her to medical appointments as well as family get-togethers.”

How CSL at Opportunity Inc. has kept me safe & healthy

Since I got out of Norwood 2.5-3 years ago staff have helped me so much.  They help me cook and clean and get to my medical appointments.  They also take me out into the community to do things I enjoy like play mini golf, go bowling, go fishing and shoot pool.  Last summer we went to Red Sands beach and I got to fly a kite I won at the Lions Camp playing bingo.  I felt like a kid again.  Going tubing at Powers Bluff is on my bucket list and staff is helping me to be able to do that this winter.  We go to the YMCA and do crafts together.  Staff have helped me stay out of Norwood by keeping me busy and active.

– CSL Program Member

Opportunity Inc. believes in supporting people to be the best version of themselves; to support independence and honor people’s choices and differences.

Making a Difference in Bob’s Life

Opportunity Inc.s compassionate efforts have made an immense difference in Bob’s, bringing light to what seemed like a dark tunnel.

Bob is someone who had been struggling with not eating, lack of sleep and was considered suicidal prior to Opportunity Inc. coming into his life.  Bob has faced profound challenges in finding joy and meaning in life.  Opportunity Inc.’s involvement and assistance have been nothing short of transformative. Through the actions of staff, they have been able to show Bob that there is hope and that they are not alone in their journey.  Bob is eating healthy.  Bob is sleeping through the night.  And Bob has made friends. 

Opportunity Inc.’s commitment to making a positive impact goes beyond business success; it extends to the well-being of individuals within the community. One of Bob’s natural supports tells us that by uplifting one person (Bob), you’ve touched the lives of everyone around them. The ripple effect of your kindness is profound.   Bob gave the Manager a hug and told her he can’t believe how good he feels and he is sleeping better than he has in years.

Experiencing the Unimaginable

The first time dipping into a swimming pool can be a moment of sheer exhilaration for anyone, but for someone with a disability, it can be a transcendent experience—an opportunity to defy limitations and embrace the freedom of movement in a way they may never have imagined possible.

I will never forget the first time I took ‘Bob’ swimming with me.  We slowly and gently entered into the water. I watch as the cool embrace of the water envelops him and I can see he feels a rush of joy unlike anything he’s ever experienced.

For the first time in his life, ‘Bob’ feels weightless. Freed from the constraints of gravity and his disability, he moves through the water with grace and ease, each stroke propelling him further into a realm of possibility and wonder.  He jumps.  He splashes.  He spins circles.  And ‘Bob’, considered to be non-verbal, begins to scream, screech and giggle.  Everyone in the pool looks, never expecting to hear a noise out of ‘Bobs’ mouth.  It brought a tear to my eye, and in that moment, I knew I was making a difference in someone’s life.

I watch as the cool embrace of the water envelops him and I can see he feels a rush of joy unlike anything he’s ever experienced.

A Safe Place to Live

Opportunity Inc. supported a young man in transitioning from his parent’s house into his own apartment. This young man was vulnerable and excited yet nervous about moving into his own home. 

After 6 months of him living successfully in his own apartment, making friends, and finding a job, his parents brought Opportunity Inc. flowers, saying, “Opportunity Inc. is the best thing that happened to him leaving home. Her husband and I are very grateful for everything we have done for him, including providing him with a safe and healthy place to live.” 

My First Apartment

Getting your first apartment is an exhilarating journey filled with excitement, independence, and a sense of newfound freedom. It marks a significant milestone in someone’s life, signifying a step toward greater autonomy. The joy of getting your first apartment is multifaceted, encompassing both practical and emotional aspects.

First and foremost, there’s an overwhelming sense of accomplishment that comes with securing your own living space. It’s a tangible symbol of your hard work, determination, and ability to navigate the challenges of adult life. From finding the perfect location to signing the lease agreement, every step of the process reinforces your capability and readiness to embrace new responsibilities.

The newfound independence that comes with having your own apartment is liberating. No longer bound by the rules and regulations of a parent’s home, you have the freedom to decorate, organize, and live according to your own preferences and lifestyle. Whether it’s choosing furniture that reflects your personality or deciding on the layout of your space, every decision feels empowering and uniquely yours.  The ability to transform your apartment into a reflection of your identity and values is both gratifying and fulfilling.

Beyond the practical aspects, there’s an undeniable sense of excitement and anticipation that comes with the prospect of living on your own. The thought of hosting gatherings with friends, cooking meals in your own kitchen, and enjoying quiet moments of solitude is incredibly appealing. Every aspect of daily life takes on a new significance as you navigate the joys and challenges of independent living.

But perhaps the most profound joy of getting your first apartment lies in the sense of possibility it represents. It’s a blank slate, brimming with endless opportunities for growth, exploration, and self-discovery. With each passing day, you’ll learn valuable lessons about responsibility, resilience, and the true meaning of home.

In the end, the joy of getting your first apartment extends far beyond the walls of the space itself. It’s about embracing the journey of self-discovery, forging your path in the world, and creating a life that’s uniquely your own.

Opportunity Inc. has been overjoyed with helping XXX through the process of finding a place to call home and being a part of his day to day successes. 

Don’t Give Up

LW has been bounced around from place-to-place beginning at a very young age. LW was placed in children’s adult family homes and restricted facility is after his grandparents didn’t have the capacity to care for him with his troubling behaviors. At a very young age, LW would take off from his placements, have anger issues, suicidal tendencies, physical aggression, and destroy property.  

LW spent multiple visits at Winnebago before coming to Opp. Inc. LW has not spent more than 2 months successfully at a placement. LW has been with Opp. Inc. since April 2022. The first month was a little rocky; however, only 2 elopement attempts were made, whereas before, LW was eloping every day, if not multiple times a day. LW has since have no behaviors, suicidal tendencies, or elopements.  

He has held a job within the community and has made friends over gaming.  He’s starting the 18-21 transitional schooling program and is comfortable and coming out of his shell.  This has been his longest placement to date ever at 6 months and going strong.  

“My son has been living at Opportunity Inc. for 20 years and he loves it. He has great caregivers that understand him and help with all of his needs. His health needs are handled quickly. He’s able to go to doctor appointments with good staff that understand him, even though he is non-verbal. I can’t think of a better place for him with all the caregivers who are so dedicated. He even has male caregivers! We’re free to pick him up every 2 or 3 weeks and they have him ready. His mother and father, who are his guardians, are so appreciative of Opportunity Inc.!!!!”

Demonstrating Compassion

A long-time resident at one of the Opportunity Inc. Adult Family Homes, who we’ll call Jim, received an unfortunate cancer diagnosis.  Jim had a stroke many years ago, and has been angry and sad ever since. His ex-wife and children have not been in his life and he lost all of his friends. He has battled with addiction most of his life.

He’s given staff a run for their money most days- calling them the worst of names, resisting care and causing havoc with the housemates.   Below is an excerpt of an email from Jim’s guardian regarding ‘caregiver’ and her work with Jim to help get the procedure he needs, demonstrating that even the most challenging people hold a special place in our staffs heart.  

“Talked with Dr. XXX. He was not successful in talking with ‘Jim’ directly about getting permission for more labs and his compliance with colonoscopy prep and sedation for the procedure. In speaking with “Chelsea” (bless her heart) ‘Chelsea’ went to the hospital about 3:30 today to talk to ‘Jim’ and explained that in order to try and stop the rectal bleeding they need to do a procedure to get inside him and try and locate the source of the bleeding and hopefully stop it.

He would have to agree to getting “poked” for more labs, agree to drink the preparation stuff, and agree to being put to sleep for the procedure. She explained it like 5 times and he agreed to all of it in front of a nurse. They will start the colonoscopy prep tonight at 10 pm. ‘Chelsea’ told the hospital that if he changes his mind at 10 pm to call the facility number and she will stop over after she gets off and sit with him until he drinks it all. ‘Chelsea’ told ‘Jim’ that in order for him to go home, we need to get this bleeding figured out, or we will just keep coming back and he won’t like that either. He gave her a hand signal that communicated his displeasure.  I’m so thankful for ‘Chelsea’ and Opportunity Inc’s unwavering commitment to Jim’.

I’m so thankful for ‘Chelsea’ and Opportunity Inc’s unwavering commitment to Jim’.

Finding Joy

When ‘Bob’ was removed from his home by the authorities for health and safety concerns, he ended up going into a nursing home.  Surrounded by people with who struggled with behaviors and people three times his age, ‘Bob’ was not getting any joy out of life.  The monotonous routine of medical appointments and therapy sessions led to a deep sense of sadness for ‘Bob’.  Being a young person in a nursing home can be an incredibly challenging and isolating experience, filled with a complex mix of emotions ranging from sadness to frustration to loneliness.

‘Bob’ was a mere 23 years old however his level of care was challenging to find qualified staff to meet his needs.   While ‘Bob’ had a tracheostomy, he was a young man, full of life and hopes and dreams.  ‘Bob’ came to Opportunity Inc. and I’ll never forget the day I picked him up.  He hadn’t been out of his bed for months, yet he wanted more out of his life.  I brought him home, to Opportunity Inc., where he lived a full life, with laughter, friendships and community connections.  All of the staff loved being around ‘Bob’, with his contagious giggles and big brown eyes, he always seemed to make the day better.

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