Tommy’s road to the future started out a little rough during his younger years. Tommy was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and had a hard time focusing in high school, which led to him dropping out. After dropping out of high school, he decided to go to Central Nine Career Center in Indiana to get certified in small engine repair.
In 2010, Tommy came to Wisconsin to visit his sister. Tommy enjoyed Wisconsin and wanted to make his home here as Wisconsin is a great place to enjoy his passions of fishing, hunting, hiking, biking, walking and gardening. Tommy initially moved in with his sister and found employment, which allowed him to move out on his own.
In addition to Tommy’s ADHD, he also has an impulse control disorder, which eventually led him into trouble. After spending almost a year in jail, Tommy was released on probation. After he enrolled in Lakeland Care’s Family Care program in February 2014, Tommy was placed in an adult family home in Pickett, WI for two and a half years. His probation officer and guardian both felt that the program would be beneficial for him but living in an adult family home was rough at first for Tommy. He was used to living on his own and having complete freedom so it was hard taking directions and living with other people even though Tommy knew this was the best option for him while he was on probation. The adult family home helped Tommy by developing a behavior support plan for him. Even though it was tough for Tommy, he knew he had to overcome his challenges if he wanted to reach his ultimate goal of living on his own again. Then one day Tommy had an awakening and knew now was the time to overcome the challenges. Tommy was diligent in following his conditions of probation and attending support groups. He did everything he could to prove to them that he had what it took to live on his own. He helped with meal prep, housekeeping, growing and maintaining the AFH garden and anything else that they asked of him.
Tommy decided that he wanted to earn his high school diploma (HSED) and enrolled in classes at Fox Valley Technical College in spring of 2014. In May 2016, Tommy enrolled in Lakeside Packing Plus’s prevocational services on a part-time basis with the help of his care team from Lakeland Care. Tommy had some difficulty at the beginning with accepting direction from supervisors and getting used to the piece-rate pay. Tommy was able to adjust to that, and even gained some extra responsibility there as a janitorial substitute. This was all great experience for Tommy, but he wanted more. He wanted to work out in the community and live on his own as soon as he was off probation. He gained many job skills while working at Lakeside Packaging Plus that prepared him for working in the community. Tommy said the best thing he learned while at Lakeside Packaging Plus was patience and he is working very hard at gaining more and more patience.
All of this led Tommy to apply for DVR services with the help from his care team at Lakeland Care. Tommy was assigned a job developer who was able to find him a work experience in one of his areas of interest. He completed two shifts at a restaurant for the work experience and decided to fill out an application. The staff at the restaurant helped Tommy fill out the application and knew Tommy had what it took for this position and hired him on the spot. Tommy loves everything about his job and is assigned more responsibility weekly. He enjoys working with his co-workers and loves conversations with customers. His co-workers have been wonderful to Tommy, even picking him up for work on the days that the buses don’t operate.
Tommy’s moving forward in the right direction and his goals are becoming reality. Tommy now lives in his own apartment and has secured employment in the community. Tommy’s success stems from his motivation to be more independent again and the support of Tommy’s care team at Lakeland Care. Tommy receives supportive home care services once a week to assist him with grocery shopping, meal prep and miscellaneous chore tasks.
Tommy is very organized and methodical. He takes other people’s thoughts and schedules into consideration and is always willing to lend a hand to those in need. He is honest and up-front about his past and knows what triggers he needs to avoid to keep him out of trouble. Now, Tommy is focusing on finishing up his HSED classes to get his diploma so can further his education to get his small engine repair license back. His long-term goal is to own his own automotive repair shop.