Jimmy Reardon has been a consumer at The Ability Center since 2017. He got involved with the various classes offered through the Youth and Transition Program like cooking nutrition, financial management, sex education, and personal safety. Jimmy met and socialized many peers which lead to lasting friendships.
In 2018, Jimmy enrolled in the Next Steps Summer Program, a unique summer experience where students stay on the campus of The University of Toledo while working at professional jobs during the day.
"I remember how shy I was when I was in the room with new Ability Center consumers, but I eventually became so motivated to answer every question," Jimmy said. "During school, I never liked to raise my hand unless the teachers asked me a question, but I felt so comfortable during this program."
After completing the program, Jimmy decided it was time for him to learn how to live independently and on his own. With the help of Lucas Board of Development Disabilities, he was approved for his own apartment. "Once I got approved to live in my apartment, I felt amazing and happy," Jimmy said. "I am not fully independent yet but that's okay. I'm still learning." The Ability Center connected him with resources to furnish his apartment and also provided resources to learn skills like meal preparation, budgeting, and time management to make sure he continued to take care of himself.
"I thought I would live with my parents for the rest of my life," Jimmy said. "But one night I realized I wanted to become more responsible and more independent. You never know what you'll achieve in your life. I never thought this would be my life and I'm truly happy about it."