As we move forward through 2021, we are kicking off a new blog series called Where are They Now?
In 2015, Becca was first introduced to Vista when she attended our summer program for young adults, Exploring Independence. Becca went on to join Vista’s adult transition program, Discover, to develop her skills to live independently. Last year, Becca graduated from the Discover Program, moved into her own apartment, and now receives select services from Vista through our Engage Program. Becca spoke to us about her Vista journey so far.
Becca, a Vista Engage Member living along the Connecticut Shoreline
Where do you live and who do you live with?
I live in my apartment along the Connecticut shoreline with my housemate, Amanda. We first met before I even started at Vista’s Discover Program; we met when I was trying Vista over the summer during Exploring Independence. We stayed friends and have become better friends since we started living together.
Becca at her apartment complex
What are some of the things you wanted for your life that led you to join the Discover Program?
Before I started in Discover, I had been doing the same thing (for what felt like) forever. I needed to make a change and knew I wanted to live away from home.
What are some skills you have learned, and what are you still working on?
The first thing I learned was how to live away from my family. Even though it was something I wanted, the transition period was so hard at first. I felt homesick and thought, Am I doing the right thing? Once I got used to being away from home, I started to really like it here. Everyone’s so supportive: my Vista community, my family, and even people in my hometown are really supportive of my life.
In Discover, I learned how to navigate the community and use public transportation, plan out my day, get ready for work, and keep my home tidy. I’m learning a lot of cooking skills now. I have worked with my Life Skills Instructor to learn how to use the stove correctly. I actually can make rice on my own now, which is a great thing. I do more cleaning, which is not something I did as frequently before I started at Vista. I practice doing laundry, changing a lightbulb (which is something I didn’t even think about before I got my own place!) and grocery shopping with my Life Skills Instructor. Another important task is keeping a good budget and figuring out how much to spend on things. Since I have been doing less things that cost money during COVID, I have had a chance to build up my savings.
What do you do for community involvement, work, volunteering, or job development?
I work at Ventures Business Services with Vista in the Medical Materials Handling department. When I was still developing my vocational skills, I did an internship as a receptionist at Vista’s Madison office location. Then, I did a job assessment at Ventures before I was officially hired. At my job, I make supply trays for local hospitals, something I am very proud of. You have to make sure the supplies are not expired, everything is included, and you have exactly the right amount of each item. At Vista, I realized one of my strengths is being able to focus when I am in a quiet environment. I can get distracted when the environment is loud, so some people I grew up with were surprised that I am good at a job that requires so much concentration!
Can you tell us about an average day for you? What sorts of things do you do in your free time? Can you talk about your social life?
My days vary depending on if I am working. Wednesday is a busy day for me because I go to work at Ventures in the morning, and then have Life Skills Instruction when I get home from work in the afternoon. I have a schedule for when I do my cooking and cleaning chores and when I go grocery shopping.
During my free time, I like to relax by calling some of my friends or family, creating art, or watching videos. I actually met a lot of my current friends, like Amanda, during the Exploring Independence summer program before I joined the Discover Program. I participate in some of Vista’s recreation activities too. I recently joined a novella short story writing class! When I feel comfortable doing so with the pandemic, I plan to take the train to visit my family for a weekend.
Becca and her housemate set up an art nook in their apartment dedicated to self-expression
Do you have any programming you really like at Vista or any Vista staff you feel a strong connection with?
I love the art classes here and working with my art teacher, Samantha. She’s taught me how to do techniques I’ve never done before. I didn’t take art in school, so the art classes here were an opportunity for me to try something new that I really like. Now I like lots of different creative outlets: journaling, drawing, painting, and anything Samantha shows me. Art is therapeutic, it helps release stress, and is so beneficial for me as a coping strategy because it helps me stop overthinking things. Someone recently asked me to paint a black and white sunset piece for them, which I am excited to do.
I have had close relationships with my Program Counselors. I had a strong relationship with my old Program Counselor, Melissa. It was a transition to shift to my new Program Counselor, Nicki, because I had to get used to the change even though I like working with Nicki too.
What are you proud of? How have you surprised yourself?
I was proud to graduate from Discover last year and to be able to move into my own apartment. I wasn’t sure when it would happen, but look at how far I’ve come. Moving to this apartment was a big change for me. I thought about options for apartments and if I wanted to live with others. I decided I wanted to live with a housemate because it adds a social piece to your home life, and you get to learn more about your housemate. Amanda and I like living together; we both like art, so it’s a perfect combination.
What does Vista mean to you?
My life was very different before I came here. I didn’t have as many coping strategies, know as much about taking care of my mental health, and I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life.
Vista has been very helpful for me in becoming independent. I have a job now and I can access the community on my own. I’m excited for the future.
Why did you want to stay in the Vista community after graduating from the Discover Program?
I have really good friends here and I wanted to keep those friendships going. I’m planning to keep meeting new people here and experiencing new opportunities through Vista.
Are there any fun facts about yourself that you would like to share?
I love dogs and really enjoy working with therapy dogs.
We hope you enjoyed learning about Becca!
More to come!