My PCS Story
An Inside Look at Person Centered Services, From Anthony’s Perspective
Hello, my name is Anthony, and I was born with asthma and spastic diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy that tightens the muscles in the legs, making walking extremely difficult. I have been a member of Person Centered Services since 2020, and I want to tell you the story of how PCS helped me to live on my own and become more independent. To help you better understand my story, I will first tell you a little about myself and my living situation before becoming involved with PCS. Next, I will explain how PCS helped me to live on my own. Finally, I will conclude with the pros and cons that I have experienced while living on my own.
A Dream of Independence
When I was 2 years old, I was adopted by a wonderful woman who took on the challenges of raising a disabled child. My mom raised me to have both faith in God and in myself. Phrases such as “I can’t,” or “it’s impossible,” were not allowed. While I was growing up, she used to encourage me by insisting that all things are possible through God, and that I could do anything if I put my mind to it. Being raised with that mentality helped me to get through challenging times. However, when I became an adult, I noticed that my mom had become more controlling. I couldn’t have friends come over because she didn’t want company. Despite being an adult I still had a curfew, and we would argue over what should have been small disagreements. When I told my mom that I wanted to move out, she responded with an array of reasons as to why it was a bad idea. She was overly critical of every little mistake I made, which caused me to doubt myself and my abilities. She would constantly remind me of the crime in town, and tell me how she was always worried that something was going to happen to me. This caused me to worry about the same thing. For a while, I gave in to the fear and doubt and gave up on my dream of living on my own.
A Blessing In Disguise
During early 2020, our landlord informed us that there would be a rent increase by the end of the year. Even pooling our resources, my mom and I knew we could not afford the increase and had to move. I took this opportunity to contact my Valley Mountain Regional Center service coordinator and let him know that I was interested in living by myself. He put me in contact with Antonia of Person Centered Services, and she told me about their supported living services. It was not long before my newly-assigned PCS worker, Janice, was helping me sign up for housing through the Housing Authority of San Joaquin. When my mom tried to argue that I didn’t have the skills to live on my own, Janice informed us that SLS would help me to learn any skills that I might need when living on my own. She told us that some of the skills SLS teach include cooking, paying bills, and keeping up with appointments. When I explained how nervous I was to be moving out on my own and that my mom was worried something could happen to me, Janice informed us that SLS has scheduled visits that allow her to check in multiple times a week so that I would not have to worry. I am extremely grateful for how my PCS worker went above and beyond by also helping me find housing for my mom so she wouldn’t be stranded.
A Future of Confidence
It has been nearly two years since I moved out on my own, and PCS has stayed with me every step of the way. As with every major decision in life, there are pros and cons to consider. The biggest pro is easily having the freedom to come and go as I want, and not having to worry about someone second guessing every one of my decisions. The biggest con is that when you have spent years living with someone, the loneliness can be really hard to adjust to. However, since I have started living on my own, my cooking skills have improved to the point where I’m making dishes that I’ve never made before. With the help of a PCS worker, I was able to book flights across the country, which allowed me to see a friend that I had not seen in years. Whenever I call Mom to tell her about all my new experiences, or send her pictures of the latest meal I cooked, she talks about how proud of me she is, and how she is bragging to all of her friends and neighbors about my accomplishments. My doubts have been replaced with confidence and my fear has been replaced with anticipation for my next adventure.