We all hope life brings us the best. Sometimes we have to be proactive in making the best of our lives. Such is the case for Melissa “Mindy” Rogers who has been supported by MHDS since 2005. MHDS provides programs and services to support adults who have intellectual and other disabilities.
Recently, the Empowered Workforce Team which is a part of the Tennessee Department of Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities requested success stories from provider agencies within the West Tennessee Region to recognize persons supported who were “Living Your Best Life.”
MHDS submitted Mindy’s story and she was selected for recognition. Mary Brinkley with the Team explained, “We wanted to share success stories which reflected the positive aspects of the services we provide. Those on the team reviewing the submissions felt that the many changes Mindy made to improve her quality of life represented what we were trying to capture.” She was honored at a recent luncheon and was presented with a certificate and flowers. Mindy developed materials and shared her story with the audience with much pride and received a standing ovation.
Mindy’s journey to the life she enjoys now began when she came into service with MHDS. Mindy had significant issues around her weight when she arrived. She is 5’1” and weighed nearly 400 pounds. She had to use a motorized scooter/chair in businesses. She had to use a lift chair to stand up from a sitting position. She wasn’t able to walk more than a few steps at a time. When Mindy entered services she had nursing supports due to requiring oxygen. She also had asthma so the weight was really a challenge for a 25 year old woman who wanted so much more for her life.
Mindy was fiercely independent but at times lacked the motivation to see she could accomplish all that she wanted in life. Mindy and her parents credit the support and love of a nurse, also named Melissa, who worked with Mindy to lose weight. Mindy is very social and her health prohibited her from going out so she had to just talk to friends and family over the phone. The nurse used this as motivation for Mindy by not lecturing but instead taking every step to a new reality together.
Over the past almost 12 years, Mindy has accomplished so much. Mindy has lost 170 pounds! She is no longer on oxygen and no longer requires nursing supports. She does not require behavioral supports because a lot of the aggression is gone. Now Mindy can do those things she always wanted to like being with her friends instead of confined by her health and weight to her home. Mindy no longer needs physical therapy because she is steady on her feet. Mindy belongs to a gym which she goes to on average 2 times a week. She does this with her house mates and staff who all do some type of exercise as a group so she isn’t alone.
Mindy has been working at a uniform shop 2 days a week. She has been working for over a year. She is proud of this huge accomplishment to go from confined to your home to working in the community. Her staff support for her job says, “Mindy has come a long way and is a hard worker. She takes the initiative to look for work and stay busy. She has many friends on Facebook and enjoys an active social life.”
We are all very proud of what Mindy has accomplished in her young life. We all know that she has a lot more to achieve. Bill Brewer, Executive Director of MHDS, states “Mindy’s transformation is a reminder to us all that we can achieve what we believe we can achieve. We are pleased to have helped her but it was her personal determination that brought Mindy where she is today.”
MHDS has been serving Jackson since 1972 with programs for adults with intellectual disabilities including employment and residential services. Each person served has an personalized service plan which fosters skills development and retention.
To obtain additional information, please call 731.664.0855 or visit the website at www.mhds.org.