by Allie Hardy
As an individual with disabilities, I lived independently in a home my mom and stepdad bought for me until I got into trouble. I was sentenced to a year in jail with the recommendation that if I could find housing, they would release me. But my mom had sold the house and I wasn’t able to find another place, so I spent the entire year in jail. When I was released, I still had no idea where I would live.
Being homeless was not where I expected to find myself. Elkhart has a day program for homeless people that offers food and a place to shower. Eventually, I found myself working with someone at Oaklawn who was able to get me a room temporarily at Faith Mission. After that, I connected with a guy who had a place where I stayed for a couple of months before someone told me about a group home that had opened at Corvilla.
Corvilla is where I finally found a safe place full of hope and acceptance.
The staff makes sure that I take the time to do the things I love. I can get my hair and nails done and participate in community events that I am interested in. Most recently I attended Potawatomi Pride Night where I won Golden Girls trivia. Another highlight is that last summer, I was chosen by Corvilla and the South Bend Cubs to throw out the first pitch of the game on Corvilla/Cubs night. It was such an honor for me.
In addition, when Corvilla opened its new location in Granger, I was selected to help start the new Corvilla Furnishings program. I embraced the opportunity to not only work on the furniture but also create beautiful artwork in hopes that it will make someone feel special.
Another of my favorite tasks is actively serving on Corvilla’s Diversity Committee to help others feel accepted and to help educate the Corvilla team and the community. My passion for inclusion drives me to find creative games and activities that everyone can participate in. For example, in March I organized a March Madness Bracket and made sure that anyone could play. I helped people fill out their brackets and kept track of the scoring and placements of the team.
With the encouragement and support of the staff and my new friends, I can be myself. I enjoy being a part of a family and I have made many friends at the different Corvilla Day Services. We get along well, trying to make sure that we treat each other the way we want to be treated. I don’t think I could ever leave this place.