Creating Her Community

Paulynn had a dream of what she wanted in life: Lots of friends, a job she loved, a healthy lifestyle, and a sense of community.

But it was difficult for Paulynn to leave the apartment she shared with her dad, Lee. Though Lee had dedicated his life to serving as his daughter’s primary caregiver, they didn’t have reliable transportation that could accommodate her wheelchair. And Paulynn’s risk of seizures meant she always needed to be accompanied by her dad.

Despite the obstacles, Lee was determined to give his daughter the life she dreamed of. He enrolled her in LSI’s Services for People with Disabilities.

Fifteen years later, Paulynn’s dream has become a reality.

Through LSI, Paulynn began meeting with a team of caregivers each week. They helped her solidify her goals and worked with her to use her own strengths to build greater independence.

Every week, her team provides transportation that allows Paulynn to travel to and from her apartment with ease. While Paulynn is out, Lee is able to take a well-deserved break from his caregiving role.

Before LSI, Paulynn says she hesitated to go out or go to school, because she knew her risk of seizures scared others who didn’t know how to help her through. But now, she feels safe with her LSI team, knowing they will be there when she needs them.

Paulynn loves staying active, and her LSI team has collaborated with her to make sure nothing stands in her way. She enjoys using a modified workout routine at her local YMCA, and she gives back to her community. Every Tuesday, Paulynn goes to her favorite place: Meals from the Heartland, which provides meal packages to individuals in need.

For the past five years, Paulynn has been a regular volunteer at the organization. Her job is to place label stickers on all the packages, and she is proud to say she can place hundreds of labels in a single session.

“Before Paulynn found volunteering, she spent a lot of time doing other fun things in the community. But she had a hard time creating a community of her own,” says Danielle, one of Paulynn’s LSI team members. “Now, she sees the same group of friends every week, and they all look forward to seeing each other.”

But her busy schedule doesn’t stop there. When she’s not volunteering, Paulynn loves staying active by going to the zoo, shopping at the mall, or visiting special events like the Iowa State Fair. She currently has her sights set on learning to use a walker, so she can have even easier access to places in her community. And for every moment, her LSI team is there to support her.

“LSI is really good,” Paulynn says. “They’ve always been there for me.”

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