The Baker family moved to Missouri in 2008, the seven-member family is originally from California. Employment and their family moved them to the Midwest.
The move came after Chantell’s high-school graduation. In the midst of moving, the Bakers were also transferring services for their daughter, who has Smith-Magenis Syndrome (deletion of the 17th chromosome). It was through the Developmental Disabilities Resource Board of St. Charles County (DDRB) that Lynne, Chantell’s mother, heard about Community Living’s programs.
The Bakers receive In-Home Respite Services. Chantell’s Aunt Deb, Lynne’s sister, is her respite provider. “We go to McDonald’s,” Chantell said. Chantell’s aunt will take her shopping and run other errands with her. “McDonald’s is their special thing,” Lynne said. “While they are away, I have three hours to run my own errands and it’s also time we have to ourselves.”
The Bakers also looked into Adult Recreation Services, which Chantell has been active in since they moved to Missouri. “We usually sign her up for two activities a month,” Lynne Baker said. “Her favorite activity includes dining with a group. She likes to socialize.”
Halloween is Chantell’s favorite holiday and for good reason. Besides getting dressed up and attending the Monticello subdivision Halloween party, Chantell gets to meet new people and socialize. “This is a time when it is okay for Chantell to socialize with everyone,” Lynne said.
Since Chantell likes to stay busy, the Bakers were trying to find something else for their daughter, when they learned about Support Services for Adults. Since April of 2013, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Chantell goes to the Clever Center. “When Chantell’s sisters moved out of the house, she wanted something of her own,” Lynne said. “She has found that at the Clever Center – it is her thing, her place, her job.”
While at the center Chantell has met new friends. “I also like the staff,” Chantell said. She is usually the first to arrive and will help stock items used by the staff, such as gloves and paper towels. “The staff tells me she is quite the helper,” Lynne said. On Thursdays she volunteers at the O’Fallon Senior Center where she cleans gym equipment, tables and the blinds. She has also met people and enjoys talking to them when she is not busy cleaning. “It’s been a blessing,” Lynne said. “She is proud of what she does and tells everyone she has a job.”
At first, Lynne wasn’t sure how Chantell would take to the time away. It was the first time since her graduation that she had a place to go on a regular basis. “I like getting away,” Chantell said. The Bakers have noticed she has become more independent since attending the center. “She knows what she needs for the day,” Lynne said. “It has become a routine for her and she has adjusted really well.”
Update (January 7, 2016): When Chantell arrives at the Clever Center she hangs her coat and puts her lunch in the kitchen. “She doesn’t have to be asked, she just knows to do it,” Courtney Corder, Support Coordinator, said.
On Tuesdays, she volunteers with Meals on Wheels, where she has met more people in the community. Some of her other volunteer jobs at the center include shredding paper, which is then donated to the Humane Society or used to make homemade paper at the center, and cutting out coupons for the Troops.