Making an Impact – Finding Hope with Ability Beyond
At Ability Beyond, we discover, build and celebrate the ability in all people.
For many of the individuals we serve, that means helping them live, work, and thrive independently as an integral part of the community.
Independence is dignity. We hear this message time and again from people of all ages in our programs.
Whether individuals are adjusting to life after an accident, coping with mental health and addiction struggles, or seeking jobs to make ends meet, Ability Beyond helps thousands of people move through the world on their own terms.
There is More to Life Beyond a Diagnosis
For many years, our former client Katie suffered from depression that drained her motivation as she bounced between psychiatric hospitals and group homes.
“I really didn’t have too many skills,” she said.
At Ability Beyond, Katie learned to cook healthy meals, clean her apartment, develop sustainable hygiene practices, and—eventually—settle into her own home, with day-to-day support from our amazing care force.
Today Katie is gainfully employed and continues to hone her culinary skills by cooking four course meals for herself and loved ones.
“I’m good at it,” she said.
Katie said everything really changed when she got her first apartment.
“That’s what started my future, because soon after, I met the love of my life,” she said. “He accepted me for who I am and we’ve been together for over a decade now.”
Katie said that Ability Beyond is a source of hope and possibility, proving that even with significant mental health challenges and emotional issues, “your disability does not define your ability to live.”
“Ability Beyond saved my life,” she said, “and I have proven there is a beyond.”
Fulfilling Childhood Dreams
Since 1968, young people with disabilities have come to Ability Beyond for employment support as they transition from high school into the working world. One of them is Rahdel, who wanted to be a chef when he grew up.
As Rahdel got older, that dream evolved. He also wanted to be independent. To take care of himself.
With support from Ability Beyond, Rahdel was able to secure a job with the City of Waterbury after he graduated.
Today he works in the food service department, serving kids lunch in the cafeteria and packing meals for them to bring home.
“It feels good, having a little paycheck,” Rahdel said. “I live on my own, I’ve got my own house, I pay my own bills. And it feels really good.”
Rahdel credits his direct care staff John for helping him navigate the job hunt—a daunting task for anyone. It made all the difference to have assistance with resume building, finding opportunities, and preparing for interviews.
“Ability Beyond really helps you with all of life,” he said. “They are good people.”
Bouncing Back After a Life-Changing Accident
As a mother and self-proclaimed workaholic, Ability Beyond client Cheree cherishes her independence. So it upended Cheree’s life when complications from gastric bypass surgery caused her to experience memory loss, physical disability, and depression.
Suddenly Cheree needed help with basic activities she once took for granted, like walking and speaking. She persevered—but she didn’t believe she would ever work again.
Then Cheree was introduced to Ability Beyond.
With acclaimed employment support from our team, Cheree has now been working for more than two years in a competitive, integrated job, and she’s on the verge of getting her own apartment.
“My daughter was like, ‘OK, I’m gonna get my mom back,’” Cheree said.
Cheree’s employment journey has been supported by Eli Warren, our Assistant Career Development Program Manager. Eli is part of the award-winning disability careforce that helps many hundreds of people each year find community-based jobs they enjoy—and thrive in.
Yet Eli said our clients, like Cheree, deserve all the credit for their success because it’s driven by their own determination and talent.
“I told her, ‘You’re the star of the movie,” Eli said. “We can help guide you somewhere, but at the end of the day, we have to step back and let you take it away.”
Entrepreneur Gained Her Footing with Ability Beyond
Our former client Chayla is now the owner of two small businesses, with ambitions to enter the field of child psychology one day.
Yet when Chayla was an adolescent struggling with mental health challenges, she didn’t have a dream job. Her unstable life left little room for hope at all.
“Back then, it was a struggle,” she said. “I didn’t have a purpose. I didn’t think I was going anywhere.”
All that changed at Ability Beyond—beginning with her expectations of herself. Chayla responded well to caring staff who believed that she could live with independence, dignity, and joy.
With a compassionate, skilled support system, Chayla learned how to wash her clothes, clean her home, grocery shop on a budget, find job opportunities, and ace job interviews.
“That’s when I really started being like, OK, maybe I can do this thing called life,” she said.
Ability Beyond helps more than 1,750 people each year find employment in Connecticut and New York through job training, placement and so much more. Donte today and help more people find independence and hope.