April: Community Integration

April’s Story: April has been a part of the Pathfinder Services family since 2002 when she moved into a group home as a young adult.  Thanks to the support she receives from her staff at the Little River Art Studio and in her supported living home on Ash Street, April has found her niche and is flourishing.

 

Those who are included in April’s circle of friends know how playful her personality is and how bright her smile can be when talking about her favorite things.  All of April’s positivity is reflected in the colorful projects she is a part of during her time at the Little River Art Studio. When April and her friends arrive at State Street, they discuss their objectives, have some coffee and when the studio opens at 9am, April jumps right in.  “I set up the paint and I pick out the music. Justin Beiber is my favorite.  I like to help my friends at the stitch table.”

The Little River Art Studio is all about collaboration.  No one knows what the end result will be. One artist will provide the base of the project, another will add an element, then another might put the finishing touches.  April is great at detailing, so her name is on a lot of the unique art that is available for sale.

Krista, one of April’s Direct Support Professionals (DSP), describes April as fun and a jokester and notes how much she has grown over the last few months. “When April first came to the studio, she was a little timid and we’d need to give her instructions.  Now she is very independent and does everything on her own.”

April’s Cats recently made their debut. These colorful pillows are based on a drawing that April made and so far, she is working to keep up with custom orders that have been placed.  “I get a check, more money, when things sell.  I want a Justin Bieber shirt.” Typhanie, April’s DSP, sits across from her at the table and finishes stitching the cats after April stuffs them. “The best part of my job is when something sells and just seeing the smiles on their faces when they finish something and when they realize just how talented and artistic they really are.”

Little River has not only given April’s artistic talents the ability to shine, her art has also given her the chance to be a part of her community.  She enjoys going to local craft shows to sell her work and loves to participate in art events such as the Huntington Chalk Walk. She also has fun presenting large paper-mache projects to local organizations such as the bowling pin created for Rainbow Lanes and the hot air balloon given to the Huntington County Chamber of Commerce.

April’s favorite project so far even won her an award.  April’s paper-mache zombie displayed at the Harta-ween Zombie Dash won her first place for best Halloween Scene.  “I won 1st Place and I got a trophy and a $25 gift card. I like the Little River Art Studio.”