I think that many people don’t consider life experience as a friendship history or even a story at all. Before FLA, my life story was going to school, spending time in my room playing video games or singing along to my favorite songs. I didn’t know how to be connected in a positive way with my family or people I met even though I wanted that very much. Before FLA I didn’t see much of anything in my future. Well, when I entered Full Life Ahead’s“family” my story and life restarted. I saw a future I hadn’t seen before – one of hope and the lesson that my future is whatever I make it with a lot of help from my “support team”.
Full Life Ahead has affected my life by giving me opportunities to make friends with my peers and more life experiences with the world. Not only has Full Life Ahead given me friends and life experiences but in the right context. One of the first people I met was Mrs. Lisa Manly. I came to like her very quickly. I met others as time went on and formed positive relationships with not only adults but also peers, a first for me. At FLA I met people who understand me and help me fit in better with the rest of the world but who do not judge me.
Full Life Ahead has taught me many things. One of these is appropriate behavior toward girls and women, which led to a meaningful relationship with a girl. Another of these is to help cool my “hyper jets” when they were on full throttle. Next, they helped me have conversations, which in the past was a problem!
Full Life Ahead is really about creating a happy “together” feeling with people you know and can trust. The people there, not only teach you how to have a good time, but how and when it is time to work in ways that are comfortable to each individual person.
By their “family” and their support, I feel like I want to give back to them by volunteering my time with their preparations for activities. By knowing them I feel like they have opened my mind to more than just friends, but THE POSSIBILITIES OF LIFE!
(P.S. from Evan’s family)
Involvement with Full Life Ahead has also helped our family see Evan’s positive possibilities in the real world. For many years “professionals” had told us what Evan couldn’t do. Although we had always believed in Evan’s gifts, by attending family weekends we saw him valued by others for what he could! We saw Evan take a leadership role with his peers and share in a positive way his unique perspective on life.
In addition, we learned too of agencies, organizations, and people who could help us as we supported Evan in making the most of his special gifts. We left each encounter with FLA with a feeling of hope and not being alone. A great gift to any family of a child with a dis-Ability!