Written By: Michelle Brown, Crystal Baker-Breault and Craig Smith

Craig’s story is one of success.  He lives in an apartment with his girlfriend and works full time at a home improvement store.  His journey has been one of identifying life goals,  accepting support, learning new skills, working hard and maintaining a positive attitude. 

His journey began here at Wildwood when he moved into the Castleton group home in 2007.  He began to formulate his life goals as an adult.  He wanted to obtain a job and live on his own.  What did this entail?  His staff, Crystal Baker-Breault and others, supported him to learn some life skills which would take him there, such as budgeting, saving money, taking his own meds and scheduling doctors’ appointments. Over time, Craig worked hard and mastered each of these. 

Craig desired to be employed.  Crystal assisted him to apply for a variety of jobs.  His first position was working at a fast food restaurant two to three days each week, a job he held for five and a half years. Craig received a ride to and from work. Learning work skills were imperative to keeping his job; arriving on time, hospitality and professionalism.  He obtained an employment specialist, who has been available when he needs support since then. 

 As he developed confidence, he felt he was ready to take on different work challenges. Staff assisted Craig to pick up job applications.  He decided to take a job closer to home at a retail store in East Greenbush so he could ride his bike to work and be more independent.   

When he and his supports felt he was ready to move to his own apartment in Latham, Craig transferred to a similar store in his new community, maintaining his job. 

Since moving, Craig has continued to grow and learn.  He works full time at a local home improvement store, where he has been for the last six and a half years.  He walks to work or takes an UBER. 

Craig has had consistent people in his life.  He has had the same employment specialist since 2007. Even though Crystal is no longer one of Craig’s staff, she is a natural support to Craig.  Someone he can call for advice or talk to. Stability and continuity help people succeed!  Keeping our staff is imperative to helping people we support live their best lives. 

  He still has support staff which take him to the bank and assist with other chores. He sees them much less frequently as when he lived in a group home. 

What are Craig’s future goals?  He is studying the DMV driver’s manual and hopes to attain his driving permit and license.  Buying a car is the next dream. When asked what he wants in life, Craig replied, “to be independent.”

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