Cascade Connections’ Supported Living program in East Lynden recently welcomed James, a hard-working but easy-going young man whose winsome personality and great attitude have quickly endeared him to his support staff, neighbors, and housemate. To help our community get to know him better, James graciously agreed to participate in an interview supported by Cascade Connections Area Manager Nikki and Site Manager Chase L..
James started the interview by highlighting some of his enthusiasms, which include country music and cowboy-style outfits and hobbies. “I’m a fan of Toby Keith”, James told staff, adding that he is very pleased with the new Toby Keith blanket he received for his new place in Lynden. James also prizes his white cowboy hat and his ostrich-leather cowboy boots, which were given to him by two teachers who have supported and advocated for him.
James comes to us after many difficult years in a precarious living situation. When Nikki asked James how he likes his new home, James reported how grateful he feels to “finally get a good night’s sleep”! James had very little privacy where he previously lived. With no door in his room, bright lights from the living room streamed in and kept him awake. A broken window meant that it also got too chilly in his room, and rats often kept him awake as they scampered by his bed. James has expressed relief over having a more private and comfortable living space. Best of all, he no longer has to wrangle Clifford, the bull that broke James’ nose twice when it repeatedly escaped its pen at the old farm! (When James listed his dislikes, Clifford made the top of the list, along with fighting and hot stoves).
Since he began receiving our services, James has been able to explore his cowboy-related interests and activities without breaking any bones. Our staff have supported him in spending time with horses, as he has expressed interest in horseback riding. James also got to sport his cowboy duds during some line dancing lessons at Station 49 not long ago. Station 49 also has go-karts, and James says he’s eager to return for a go-karting session with Nikki and Chase.
James gets a real kick out of joking around with Chase, who always provides a fun reaction! During the interview, grinning at Chase, James confessed how much he (James), his neighbor Kevin, and Cascade Connections staff Katie “like giving Chase a hard time!” Chase grinned back and nodded as James added how much he enjoys sitting next to Chase and skipping him on purpose whenever they play UNO.
James’ growing connections with new friends, neighbors, and staff have been very meaningful for all involved, and quite a welcome contrast to James’ previously isolating life. James and his friends and support staff have been making the most of the summer weather by biking around the neighborhood, attending outdoor concerts and movies, and going dancing. James recently played the drums along with friends in Out of the Ashes, an inclusive, local band that plays at Boundary Bay in the summer.
James’ new home life is going well also. His Cascade Connections team and community have helped him secure clean clothes, food, and other things he lacked when he arrived. With access to a new fridge, cupboard space, and cooking support at home, it’s been easier for James to eat healthier, more consistent meals. He especially likes to make sandwiches and use his air fryer. James appreciates his housemate Evelyn, and he goes out of his way to help her with things. James and Evelyn both enjoy watching Texas Ranger and attending church together on Sundays at North County Christ the King.
After years of very difficult circumstances, James has set many goals for himself and his future. Eager to get a job working outside, James has begun some vocational training at two local golf courses where he enjoys fetching golf balls and driving golf carts. A very active and energetic person, James recently enjoyed a workout session at Forge Fitness Center, as well as some summer kayaking and three camp sessions hosted by The AIROW Project.
Last but not least, James would like to be a better basketball player and to find a girlfriend who enjoys watching basketball at the park. He wants to get a nice suit so he can go on some dates, and he plans to use some of his paycheck to buy a dress and other gifts for his future girlfriend. Needless to say, Cascade Connections looks forward to supporting James as he pursues each and every one of these goals and dreams. Welcome, James!