Jimmy and his family have received support through Community Connections since 1992 – that’s 28 years! Jimmy has been able to continue riding his bike, cooking for himself, and perhaps most important of all, socializing. (He just loves talking on the phone.)
Filmed in spring/summer 2019.
This was filmed last year, before our current social distancing/stay at home situation. But even now, it’s very important for people like Jimmy to continue to receive support so they can stay safe. We are continuing to provide essential support services to those who most need them. You can help too, by making a donation to Community Connections today.
Jimmy: Hello friends, nice to meet ya.
Julie: A relative of my husband’s, when Jimmy was a toddler, sent us a message saying, this is the best place to raise Jimmy. The whole community would embrace him if you moved here and it was Prince of Wales Island, just outside of Ketchikan. So in 1988, we packed up our family and moved to Thorne Bay on Prince of Wales Island, where Jimmy started kindergarten. We find a good church which was good supports for us. But we also find that no one would babysit our son more than once. And it worked that way where babysitting wasn’t quite what they expected, a child who experiences mental disabilities. So we kind of struggled for a few years and in 1992, we heard about Community Connections coming to the island. So from that point on until he was in his teens, respite was a lifesaver for our family. It was all about awareness with Community Connections. I didn’t know that Jimmy was, I didn’t know that he was allowed money. You know, when a person gets to a certain age, they’re allowed adult disability if they have a disability like Jimmy, and supplemental security income. The state actually helps you do that. Because it costs a whole lot less than institutionalizing them. And then to get the supports from the community to be able to have a quality of life that anyone would want.
Chris: What are we working on right now?
Jimmy: Paper route.
Chris: Okay so why don’t we focus on the paper route.
Jimmy: Chris can I ask you something?
Jimmy: This is my job.
Julie: It seemed like every phase of Jimmy’s life they would, they would come in and they would say now, you should start preparing for a transition time. Do you want him to stay in your home for, forever? Do you want to transition him to a more independent way of life or semi-independent? I thought it was so important that he tie his shoes, you know, and then Velcro comes out. And we’re all like, I think that would be better for him then tying his shoes. He’s got Community Connections folks, to take him to the library, to help him look through maps, he’s always wanting to find different places on maps on the internet, and bring them up and see what they look like. I feel like Jimmy has a schedule in the community because of Community Connections. He does choose his things that he likes to do. He makes those choices. Like being physically active. Well, he would much rather ride his bike than go on a hike or a run. I’ll ask him to name what he’s gonna do. “I’m gonna ride my bike. First I gotta get up and shower…”, you know, and these things. So I really think he’s considering those his job and he needs support doing all of that. His favorite thing to do is really talking on the phone or talking about people. He really considers everyone who will spend any time with him or everyone who will converse with him, he considers them his friends.
Jimmy: How are you? Ok. Ok. No! Let me get this straight.
Julie: Certain people in the community know he likes to talk on the phone. So the gentleman that owns Green Coffee Bean, he’s willing for Jimmy to call him periodically and he’ll pick up the phone and have a short conversation with Jimmy and then he’ll say, “I’ve got customers now I gotta go.” And I just love that. That is probably his favorite thing to do.It’s socializing, which is so him.
Jimmy: The phone’s for you. Okay, bye.
Julie: He enjoys talking to me. So he’ll have access to me by phone. And Community Connections has a schedule where they call me periodically. And we’ll make up certain days a week where we have a phone conversation. So that’s really nice.
Jimmy: I miss you very much.
Julie: I miss you too, and I’m glad you’re coming up here to see me.
Jimmy: Mom, does it have air, does it have planes, floatplanes over there?
Julie: Community Connections, they let me know my options for advocating, to tell my story, which was pretty cool, because nobody has your story. My story was unique. It was like, this is our life. And this is the quality of life we have when Community Connections is stepping in and helping us out, which is what we needed. They see the value in people like my son. They’re here for a reason. I believe Jimmy’s here for a reason and it’s for other people.
Jimmy: Okay. I’m gonna call Community Connections, bye.