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Perseverance is Key

Caitlin Baker is a busy person. She’s working two jobs, going back to school and planning her wedding to her sweetheart, Kenzie. And if that isn’t enough to keep a girl busy, she’s got other ambitious goals like getting her driver’s license, moving into her own place before the wedding, and wanting to get better at meal preparation and grocery shopping.

Listening to Caitlin (above, left) talk about her dreams, it’s hard to believe that she lives with a developmental disability but that’s because Caitlin is fiercely independent and doesn’t let anything stop her from fulfilling her dreams. She loves working with children, coaching soccer with Little Kickers and works in two daycare centres with a goal of attaining her Early Childhood Education certificate. She is both tenacious and wise, knowing what her limitations are, knowing when she can push herself, and knowing when to ask for help. She has a supportive community around her including her parents, her fiancé Kenzie, and Holly, her Outreach Support Worker. Caitlin and Holly have become good friends.

“She’s perfect. We have the same energy,” Caitlin says. “She listens, she takes me to appointments when I need to get somewhere that’s too far to walk or the bus doesn’t go there, and she helps me.”

Holly, who supports Caitlin through Communitas Supportive Care Society, enjoys her time with Caitlin and is impressed with her dedication to her goals. They’ll meet for coffee, check and see how she’s progressing, and prioritize her goals. They might run errands that are specific to the goals she has or learn about coping skills. Together they’re working on Caitlin getting her “L” license and researching options for subsidized housing. One of the things that has truly impressed Holly is the way that Caitlin perseveres.

“She has so many goals she strives to accomplish, and with all of life’s obstacles I have yet to see her get discouraged,” Holly says. “She knows what she wants and goes for it no matter what!”

Caitlin has faced challenges but deals with them head-on. She’s been bullied for having a disability and heard herself called terrible names.

I’ve had the ‘R’ word used on me but when that happens, I don’t take it, I put my foot down. No one can call me that – just look at what all I’ve accomplished. – Caitlin

It’s this kind of determination and will that keeps Caitlin focused on her dreams. When asked where she sees herself in 5 years, Caitlin does not hesitate.

“I want us (she and Kenzie) to be in our own townhome and I want to be running my own day care business,” she says.

Holly doesn’t doubt that Caitlin will be successful.

“Caitlin is one of the hardest working people I know, she’s an intelligent young lady with so much potential it’s unreal,” she says. “I’m proud to be working alongside her while she travels through her journey.”

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