Celebrating Independence at Latham
In a recent letter to staff, Adult Services Director Gina Sheehan reflected on “Independence,” one of Latham’s core values. Her encouraging message about the work being done here at Latham Centers will have meaning for all of us – and especially families, friends, and caregivers of someone with special needs:
“At Latham, not a day goes by without someone mentioning the word independence. Gaining independence, being independent, working towards independence… We talk about it so much because we value it. We know that having control of your own life promotes happiness, self-esteem, and confidence. As caretakers, it is our job and our calling to help the students and residents work towards this. We also know that the road to independence can be scary. Our instincts tell us to protect the people we work with because we know that road is filled with difficult lessons, hurt feelings, and sometimes uncertainty.
One of the hardest jobs we have is embracing the commitment to allow our students and residents to grow while trying to protect them. We challenge our inner fears daily to allow the people we serve to live their best, most self-determined lives.
Independence means different things to different people. It is standing on stage and performing for a room full of people, it is moving into your first apartment, it is being promoted, and it is exploring new relationships. It is teaching others, it’s enjoying a night out with a friend of your choice, getting a new job, identifying and using your passion to give back, or simply letting loose on the dance floor. Over the past year, I have seen so many examples of growth and independence – both in our Programs and in our staff. I am so excited to see what the year ahead brings!” — Gina Sheehan
Pictured: Adult Services Program managers take a break for a team photo at a recent meeting. Our entire staff is committed to Latham’s mission “to create opportunities for independence, self-worth, and happiness for children and adults with complex special needs.”