Testimonial by Ivory Black
Ivory Black has witnessed firsthand how Texana Center “Changes Lives” through her son, Brandon Black, who has been in Texana’s services for over 10 years. She admits that being a parent of a child with an intellectual disability has been challenging but is also very rewarding and has given her purpose in life. Brandon has set an example for me, in that even though his life can be very challenging, he does not give up and always fights for what he wants. Before he got into Texana’s Service, I tried to visualize the future for my son, where he would be in life and what he would be doing, I had some ideas but didn’t know how to action any of them.
When Brandon was admitted into Texana’s service his mother felt relieved. as she now had support and a big burden had been lifted. At the time I found out about Texana, there was a 5-6 year waiting list; today it is almost 10 years! I was lucky as Brandon had 5 years still in school, so the transition from school to Texana would be perfectly timed. Unfortunately, that was not the case and I was disappointed to hear the news that I would have to wait for services but luckily it was only a six month wait. Texana has helped Brandon with job opportunities, assisting him with applications, interviews and training for positions that fell within within his abilities. Brandon has very high standards for himself, as do I, and the staff at Texana did not stray from these once. They assisted him to reach his own goals and to meet the standards he had set for himself and they are still working with him to exceed those standards. Texana gave Brandon a great deal of hope; letting him know that he is important and that the goals that he has set for himself are achievable.
He can get discouraged sometimes but for the most part he is determined to succeed and often comments “how can I ever succeed, if I quit”? He has taught me to stick with things – I was the one who kept saying “let’s try something else, let’s do this instead” but he would not quit. He also told the staff at Texana, including his job coach that very same thing; so we all got together and decided that if Brandon is not going to quit, then neither are we! Brandon has a job at KFC in Sugar Land. He quickly learned that it takes money to do the things that he wanted to do which included living on his own and paying his own bills. He also knew that it takes money to; travel, to fish and to get the things that he enjoys out of life. He is a hard worker, loves going to his job, really likes the people that he works with, as well as the Texana supported employment staff who assist him.
He is a giving and caring person. His job has not only provided him with a paycheck, but also with a feeling of self-worth and pride because he is providing for himself and not receiving a handout. Brandon has been living independently for 7 years; this was more of a challenge for me than Brandon, I did not want to leave him alone but he wanted to be his own man and was determined that he could take care of himself and he did! What’s next for Brandon? He has his driver’s license and his mom is fine with him driving with her but, just like everyone else, he wants his own vehicle. This is another big challenge and one that Brandon will find a way to meet and overcome. He and his mom are working on a plan as Brandon has been saving for a car for some time and she told him she would help. He is always checking to see how much she have saved. He keeps her on her toes as far as savings are concerned, and is always checking up on her saying “I am really close, are you?” This is another life changing step towards total independence and although his mom is scared she is also fiercely proud of him.
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