Friendship can happen anytime, anywhere and with anybody. Some friends you see daily, some you only see once a year, but when you are with that friend you know you are in good company. And, that’s how Sandy Paul, now a case worker with the Developmental Disabilities Resource Board, and Charlie, now a participant at the Support Services for Adult’s Clever Center, both feel about each other.
In 2004, Sandy was working as a Support Coordinator for the Support Services for Adult’s Lonning Center and Charlie was a participant there . A friendship formed. “I worked directly with Charlie for three years,” Sandy said. “I continue to help Charlie and his family as his case manager, I just don’t get to see him on a daily basis.”
During their days together at the center, they both realized they have a common passion for the St. Louis Cardinals. And, since 2009, Sandy has been taking Charlie to a Cardinals game. They try to make Opening Day, but even if they cannot make that game they try for another game. “I’ve always been a Cards fan, it’s huge in my family,” Sandy said. “Charlie’s a huge fan, and he’s very knowledgeable about the game. He’s just a super cool dude.”
One of Sandy’s favorite things is how the people around them are always so welcoming and embrace Charlie. “Cards fans just mesh,” Sandy said. “Everyone is high fiving and fist bumping and Charlie’s right in the center of it all. It’s just amazing to me, but it’s normal there because everyone is doing it. We are all fans.”
It is Sandy’s belief to foster relationships outside of a work setting. “It is important to me to foster these relationships and go above and beyond being a case manager,” Sandy said. “People come and go so much in their lives, so I want to build that bond and trust. This is my way of saying I’m here for the long haul. I may not be there at full capacity, but I’m not going anywhere.”
Going to the Cardinals game is Charlie’s favorite thing to do with Sandy; however, he also enjoys his birthday lunch with her. “It’s nice to see her,” Charlie said. “I have a fun time and we get to talk and catch up with each other.”
As much as Charlie enjoys his friendship with Sandy, she says it brightens her day just as much. “I probably get more out of it than him,” Sandy said. “It’s amazing how connected you get with people you support. Charlie holds a special place in my heart and I just love his company.”