Each month we take a moment to highlight a DEC Consumer, their experience with our Center and our staff, and their Success. This month we spoke with Chrystal Arias.
I was homeless and had no place to go. I had moved here from the Bahamas to give my children a better life, but was living at the shelter. I was given The Disability Empowerment Center’s phone number so I called them.
I went to DEC feeling very helpless and alone.
I had no place to live and my children were all staying with friends I had met. I met with Barb Feaser and she told me she would help me get out of the shelter and find a safe place for me and my children. She told me she would give me options and teach me to be empowered.
Barb helped me get on Social Security. She also helped me fill out numerous applications so that I could get food. She introduced me to Tabor services, and they gave me a place to stay where my children could stay with me.
With the help of the Disability Empowerment Center I learned to budget money, got on SSI, and found housing. All of my children are now living with me. Two of them have disabilities and Barb also helped them with their school IEP’s and made sure they got all the services we needed. She got me furniture, clothing for my children and myself. She gave me a future.
I felt like I got my life back. I thought I was going to lose my children and live in the streets. They encouraged me and gave me hope and made me feel good about being a mom and an independent woman with a disability.
By giving me the best resources, educating me on empowering myself, and teaching me Independent Living skills, they gave me my life back.
Now I have accomplished so many goals. I have an income, I have learned how to stretch my money, I have learned how to maintain my life with my children and have learned a lot about myself and my disability.
DEC gave me a life and helped me get a future. They gave me something to look forward to. Even when I had given up on myself, they never gave up on me. I trust them and appreciate them.
Empowerment means having a good, stable life with my children and being able to live, love and laugh.
Without the support of the Disability Empowerment Center, I don’t know where I would be right now. They gave me hope when I was hopeless and never stopped believing that I could do this.