Cheryl has always shown a willingness to pitch in and help when it comes to making the community a better place for her and others to live.
So, it likely didn’t come as much of a surprise to those who know her when she agreed to take part in the Personal Outcome Measures (POM) pilot project being spearheaded by Abilities Manitoba and its partner agencies including Epic Opportunities.
Dozens of people living with intellectual disabilities from across the province are being interviewed as part of the project. Each participant is asked a series of questions with their responses being used to help the organizations that serve them to better focus their services and improve the quality of life of the people they support. Cheryl is one of 29 people served by Epic Opportunities taking part in the project, which is scheduled to wrap up next June.
As part of her participation in the project, Cheryl met virtually with two Abilities Manitoba interviewers on Sept. 21 for a 90-minute question-and-answer session. The session covered a broad range of subjects including: what her goals are; who makes decisions for her; and how much input she had on choosing where and with whom she lives.
“I felt good about it,” Cheryl says about her participation in the POM pilot project. “I felt comfortable with the questions they asked me. They tried to make me feel comfortable (during the interview).”
Cheryl says she appreciates the fact that agencies like Epic Opportunities are taking part in the project and hopes it will provide them with information to better assist the people they serve.
“I hope it will give me more of a say in what I do or what I have in my life,” she says, adding she appreciated having an opportunity to share her story with others.
Those comments were echoed by Bonita Vanderveen, a Disability Support Worker (DSW) with Epic Opportunities who has been working with Cheryl for nearly a decade.
“I think it’s a very good idea in terms of providing support to people. I think it will really help with how we can help Cheryl be the best that she can be,” Vanderveen says.
Cheryl has been served by Epic Opportunities for more than 20 years. Her involvement with the organization dates back to when it was still known as Hope Centre. The POM pilot project is by no means the first she’s contributed to community improvement efforts. She’s taken part in a number of public beautifying projects, including a recycling initiative at The Forks.
In addition to giving back to the community, Cheryl is also passionate about country music and lists singer Alan Jackson as one of her all-time favourite artists. She’s also learned how to communicate with others using sign language through some of the relationships she’s developed with staff and other people at a nonprofit, community-based organization she’s involved with.