Discover Roommates Exemplify Core Value of "Respect"

Discover Roommates Exemplify Core Value of "Respect"


Several years ago, Vista created a set of nine Core Values that describe what is important to us as we work to impact the lives of individuals with disabilities and the broader community. For 2022, we have chosen to focus our blog series on these Core Values - telling the story of our students and members and our organization through this important and powerful lens.

January/February Core Value Highlight: RESPECT

It's a source of anxiety for many new Vista Discover students: what if my roommate and I don't get along? Meeting someone for the first time and then living in close quarters with that person can be a challenge. It’s also a daily experience that teaches our students and members the core value of Respect.

Discover students and roommates Ilya and David (Dave) first met when Dave came to Discover for his visit as a prospective applicant. Ilya had already been with the Discover Program for about 6 months when the Vista staff asked him if Dave could share his room during this visit, and he readily agreed. “Dave and I got along really well, and he respected me. After his visit, I reached out to the staff and asked if it would be okay for Dave to be my permanent roommate.”

Neither student had lived with a roommate before (besides a sibling), so sharing a living space has meant some adjustments for both Dave and Ilya. They’ve learned to respect each other’s belongings and personal space. A visit to their dorm room shows that the two have created a tidy, comfortable area that reflects their two personalities, with family photos and mementos displayed.


Roommates Dave and Ilya have learned that respect for each other makes sharing a living space an enjoyable experience

Having Ilya as a guide to maneuver through the new environment at the dormitory was invaluable, and Dave often relied on him for advice. “I was a little confused when I first got here,” Dave acknowledged, “but I’m more comfortable with it now.” Ilya explained, “Our schedules are different, so we aren’t together for part of the day. But Dave and I will still sit together in the common area and during meals.”

They have also worked together to decorate their shared space. During the holidays, Ilya purchased a wreath, but first asked Dave if it was okay to hang it on their door. The roommates then teamed up with two other Discover students to come up with a fun idea for decorating their shared bathroom door as part of the Adopt-a-Door holiday decorating contest. “It wasn’t even just the two of us coming up with the ideas; it was a combination of all four of us thinking about what would make a good display,” said Ilya.

The two have now been roommates for several months and the partnership has worked out beautifully. By respecting each other’s individuality and finding ways they can work together, Dave and Ilya are just one example of how the core value of Respect is reflected in daily life at Vista.

More to come!