Life is full of opportunities and barriers. We all have moments of happiness and hardship. During our journey, we rely on others for support. Our family, friends, teachers and community resources help to guide us along the way. We stumble, we fall, but in time we develop the strength to stand on our own. It’s in that moment of independence that we decide our future.
Patrick, a resident of Cuyahoga Falls, has reached that pinnacle moment and he’s setting his sights ahead. Born with several developmental disabilities, Patrick has faced obstacles in his life. He’s been labeled, segregated and told that he was different—but with guidance from family and community support providers like Summit DD and Hattie Larlham, he’s built his life on a single premise. “Be yourself. Just be yourself,” Patrick exclaimed. In life, the only person who can define you, is you.
For six years, Nakia Palmer, Patrick’s Summit DD Service and Support Administrator (SSA), has had a front row seat to his success. “He’s accomplished so much. It’s a privilege to be part of his life,” stated Nakia. As Patrick’s SSA, Nakia acts as an invisible line of support. When Patrick sets a goal, Nakia presents options to help him along the way. “Nakia is great. She needs to be my SSA for at least 18 more years until I move out west!” Patrick stated with a smile.
Over the years, Patrick has accomplished so many of his goals. He’s become a dedicated member of the community as the Hudson High School basketball manager and baseball coach. He’s also worked hard to earn employment at Little Tikes as part of Hattie Larlham’s supported employment program. To top it all off, his drive and dedication was recently noticed by one of the world’s largest retailers, Wal-Mart. Patrick was featured in a video campaign entitled Work is a Beautiful Thing. The video is quickly closing in on 5 million views.
“It’s been amazing. I’m real proud of him. He has big goals. He beats to his own drum!” proudly stated Patrick’s father, Robert.
Patrick has made an impact on so many lives in his community. And now, his motto is ringing out to millions around the world. Don’t let anything get you down. You can accomplish amazing things. Be yourself, just be yourself!