Roycerin Mahood is a vibrant young woman who lives independently in a bachelorette apartment. She attends Kung Fu, voice and dance lessons, and still finds time to babysit, attend budgeting programs and connect with her peers. Her passion for life is almost infectious.
But she wasn’t always this way.
Roycerin used to be shy and less confident. Her social network was limited because she was bullied in high school, which led to some trust issues. However, like any young adult, she was looking to learn and experience new things. That’s where Trying it on for Size (TIFS) came in.
TIFS is program at Elmira District Community Living that helps individuals with developmental intellectual disabilities recognise their own abilities and identify specific areas in independent living where supports may be needed. The goal is to provide an evaluation of a participant’s independent living skills, which can be used to create a plan to l assist the individual in transitioning from their family’s home.
TIFS empowers people with intellectual disabilities “to move forward and to take chances, and allows their family or support network to recognize their advancement,” says Tami Schaafsma, a caseworker at TIFS.
People who join the program gain the experience and responsibility of living as independently as possible in a fully furnished home in Elmira. They are encouraged to be actively involved by exploring the various aspects of being independent, such as personal safety, self-advocacy, time management, etc., which will help determine what supports may be needed in their chosen residential option.
With the help of EDCL, Roycerin is expanding her horizons.
“When I first came, I was really shy and I wouldn’t talk to anyone at all,” says Roycerin. “Now, I’m more confident in myself.”
Today, Roycerin is an energetic and determined young woman who has continued to work on her goals, and she is confident she will achieve them.
“I want to get my diploma,” she says, “and hopefully go to university or college, get my ECE so I can work with more children.”
Tami says the changes she’s seen in Roycerin are remarkable.
“To see this progress in a young lady who couldn’t even discuss moving out of her parents’ home and committed to making these changes and working towards these goals – we’re just amazed with the things they wanted from life.”