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Throughout life he has always worked. As a child, at age five, he began helping with the family garden and later was mowing lawns to earn money. Stephen also did whatever odd jobs were available. And he followed instructions from home to help out the family. By age 18 Stephen had already worked several different types of jobs including helping on a farm, doing carpentry and roofing as well as construction.
"I found construction to be one of my favorites." He remarked.
Stephen shared about his family and work, "My brother Albert was in a car accident when he was nineteen and became paralyzed. I entered the Nursing field at this time and obtain my Certified Medication Aide license. I was able to help with my brother and worked in nursing homes. I found that helping others was very rewarding to me. I loved it when I was able to make a person’s day brighter and bring smiles to someone who rarely had anything to smile about."
Stephen's brother died in February of 2003, twenty years after his accident. His grandma Fox died that same year. The very next day his mother died after a long fight of battling cancer. The summer of that same year 2003 he became disabled and had to fight to get his disability while raising my son.
"I have raised him since he was six weeks old and he is fourteen years old now." He shared
Many other friends and family members of Stephen's have died since 2003. Stephen stated, "At one time I was ready to give up on my life and have my brother, Mark, and his wife raise my son. SRS helped, along with the help of my son, family and friends for some time. Then I was approved for disability and I heard about SKIL. SKIL helps people receive care in their own homes."
Stephen shared his thoughts about SKIL and community supports. He said, "Now that I receive help from SKIL my family and friends and most importantly , my son, have more time to have fun without having to worry as much about me. My son has been through a lot in his life and SKIL has allowed him to have more time to actually be a kid. They help me with my medications, my house cleaning and mental therapy. I also see a doctor, psychiatrist, and a counselor.
I am just one life but my life has affected many people around me as they have me. I consider SKIL and the people who work for SKIL my family. I will not give up fighting for them as they never gave up on me. I am in the cause until the end."
Currently there are more than 3300 people with physical disabilities on a waiting list for services like Stephen is using.
Many have been waiting since 2009 for the basic supports they need to survive in the community.
Some have died while waiting for these supports. SKIL advocates for these people and is "in the cause until the end"