When Caroline was facing barriers in her apartment because of vision challenges, the complex manager referred her to Freedom Resource Center for assistance. “I met with Diane, an Independent Living Advocate, and it took off from there.” She said. “We worked on my apartment problems, but I learned so much more was about to come.” It was during this time Caroline learned about the upcoming session of Living Well with a Disability.
Caroline was interested in the 10-week class because it teaches participants how to set goals and ways to overcome barriers to achieve them. “I was thrilled to learn the books were available in Braille and in audio format. I decided to join Cindy’s upcoming class.” Cindy, another Independent Living Advocate, was teaching the course. Caroline’s goal came at the suggestion of others to get exercise equipment for her apartment to stay fit.
While working on her plan of getting a treadmill Caroline met Justin, Freedom Resource Center’s Peer Mentoring Specialist. “I suggested pairing Caroline up with peer mentors who would walk with her in West Acres mall or around her neighborhood so she could begin her goal of getting fit.” Justin stated. She agreed and went to work walking with the assistance of Freedom’s peer mentors.
An unexpected suggestion would amplify Caroline’s walking routine. “Cindy talked about possibly doing the 5K in the upcoming Fargo Marathon. Two weeks before the race, I decided to give it a shot.” Caroline said with a smile.
“Two peer mentors agreed to walk the race with me; they’d take turns guiding me through the course. Alex Neilsen and Chad Vogel, both peer mentors of Freedom, were great. They walked at my pace and kept it fun. The spectators also made it an amazing experience.” She said.
Caroline finished the 5K at a time of 1 hour 28 minutes and 12 seconds. “There were still people behind me when I finished.” Again smiling as she said it. “Originally, I wanted to set up a website for people to donate to Freedom Resource Center, because if it wasn’t for your organization, I would never have considered taking part in a marathon.”
Donate to Freedom Resource Center on February 13th for Giving Hearts Day!