Participant Spotlight: Jacob’s Reimagine Story

Participant Spotlight: Jacob’s Reimagine Story

The Generous Heart of a Helper

For 20-year-old Jacob, participating at Reimagine means more than just finding help for himself. It means finding a place where he can give of himself to others. As a young adult with autism, Jacob has many opportunities available to him at Reimagine. His favorites are the programs and activities that offer him the chance to give his time and talents to others.

Jacob’s case manager at Regional Center introduced him to Reimagine and its Lifelong Learning Program, believing that he would benefit from the program’s opportunities to expand his horizons through education and socializing. And he’s thriving!

A lover of bike rides, brisk walks and watching movies (at home and in the theater), Jacob is proud to live on his own. He’s independent and values the friendships he’s made through Reimagine’s Lifelong Learning Program. The chance to talk to a wide range of people has brought excitement to Jacob’s life and he loves that some of his classes and programs have included the same groups of people, allowing him to build deep, meaningful friendships.

When asked about his typical week, Jacob lists a rich mix of twice weekly classes at Reimagine and Coastline Community College including health, social studies, math and theater, and shares about the weekly Zoom social hours that they have been conducting since the pandemic began, where he is able to share music recommendations. Jacob enjoys his classes and loves socializing on these weekly calls, but he especially lights up when he starts talking about the volunteer work that he has done through the community service activities that Reimagine has organized for its participants.

Jacob shares that their community service excursions have included everything from setting up tables for senior bingo nights to folding donated clothes for those in need. He specifically remembers the joy he felt working with his friends at Reimagine to sort and box food at Thomas House Family Shelter in Garden Grove, and describes that these day-long service trips often offer unique opportunities to learn new things, while also helping members of the community.

Another great insight into Jacob’s helpful personality is his deep appreciation for the opportunity to assist Brandon, one of his teachers at Reimagine, with his daily tasks. Brandon recognized some of Jacob’s capabilities and began asking Jacob for help with his work. You can feel the great deal of pride Jacob feels from helping Brandon with tasks ranging from filing papers to helping grade assignments. It means a lot that Brandon trusts him with these projects.

Jacob’s participation in Reimagine’s Lifelong Learning Program has benefitted him in many ways. The education and community service is helping him develop life skills that he can apply to professional work and independent living. Great cultures bring out the best in people, and Reimagine’s programming has created an environment where Jacob’s generous spirit has been able to grow and develop, bringing him a sense of purpose and individuality that he is proud to bring into his daily life and personal relationships.

For more information about Reimagine’s Lifelong Learning Program, click here.

BRAIN INJURY AWARENESS MONTH Participant Spotlight: Adrian’s Reimagine Story

BRAIN INJURY AWARENESS MONTH Participant Spotlight: Adrian’s Reimagine Story

Participant Spotlight: Adrian’s Reimagine Story

When Adrian, a 39-year-old Reimagine participant, first woke up after the violent fight that caused his brain damage his mother was the first person that he recognized. He often feels guilty and blames poor choices on his resulting disability, but he credits the intervention that followed his traumatic brain injury for bringing him closer to God and his family, and for saving him from a life of drug abuse and violence.

Adrian also credits his participation with his social workers at Reimagine for helping him live a happier and more peaceful life. He recalls that he used to constantly become enraged about everything, and after the pandemic brought him inside, he would focus his anger at his mother and brother, losing his temper with them over every little thing. Adrian knew that this behavior was damaging to himself and his family, and he is grateful for the therapy sessions that he has with his social worker, Alma, who works with him on mindfulness exercises, breathing exercises, and counting exercises to help with his anger. Adrian is very aware of the limitations that he faces following his traumatic brain injury, sharing that the exercise of counting backwards from 20 is now much harder for him, because his thoughts come to him so much more slowly now, but he is grateful that he has been able to continue his weekly sessions with Alma over the phone.

Adrian is also open about his initial reluctance to try the word puzzles and brain games that Reimagine provides to help exercise his brain, but now he says that with the encouragement of his Reimagine team he has started to not only use the exercises, but to look forward to completing them. Adrian even shared that one of the more difficult word search exercises took him almost two weeks to complete. He was so proud of his efforts to push through the challenge, that he put the word search up on his fridge once it was completely filled out.

“The therapy that I do with Reimagine really works,” Adrian says. “Reimagine has great counselors and social workers that help with our struggles. And every day is a struggle. But I am happy to be alive for the struggle. I am happy.”

For more information about Reimagine’s programs, click here.


Virtual Programming

Virtual Programming

Virtual Programming Keeps Possibilities Alive for People with Disabilities

In a time when we must remain distant, Reimagine continues to reach out and connect with clients through virtual classes. When quarantine orders went into effect, we moved fast to make sure we stayed in contact with our family of clients. In fact, we were one of the first nonprofits serving people with disabilities to offer virtual programming—continuing to deliver services and provide much-needed connection during stay-at-home orders. Literally in a matter of days, our team flipped to virtual programming to serve clients of all ages and a range of disabilities.

This vulnerable population continues to face the devastating impact of this pandemic. While in-person support services are limited, it’s important to provide virtual programming that extends our services and fortifies those who count on these important connections to thrive. Clients who log into Reimagine’s virtual campus can take classes and socialize with peers several days per week from home.

Although there is public awareness of some of the challenges imposed by the pandemic on individuals with disabilities, the totality of the impact on a family or a person with such disabilities can go unrecognized. Here are some benefits offered through our virtual programming:

  • Reduced Isolation: Without virtual programming, many clients say they would feel even more isolated that they already do.
  • Safer at Home: Learning and socializing from home allows them to avoid public transportation, as people with disabilities are at a greater risk of serious complications and dying from COVID-19.
  • Socialization: Virtual programming allows clients to interact with instructors and friends while they are isolated at home and learning important social development skills.
  • Keeping up with Routines: A daily routine can provide knowable structure, a sense of control and consistency, especially as people’s daily lives have been disrupted during the pandemic.
  • Avoiding developmental and therapeutic regression: Virtual programming allows clients to avoid significant regression and learning loss during COVID-19.

Our virtual programming is keeping many Reimagine clients safe, while adding purpose to their days. We offer a variety of classes that provide a wide range of options tailored to different needs. Some our virtual classes include:

  • Zumba/dance
  • Music and sing-a-longs
  • Brain games
  • Health and wellness
  • Cooking
  • Science experiments
  • Coping skills
  • Arts and crafts
  • Early intervention programs (12 months to 36 months)

It’s clear that for many clients, physical distance doesn’t keep them from learning, interacting and having fun. Virtual programming has opened doors for them to reach out and awaken possibilities in their minds and bodies. With so much disruption and uncertainty in their lives, we’re happy our virtual programming gives clients a combination of structure, joy and escape, one class at a time.