Russell’s Story

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dishwashingRussell arrived in Bellingham on a February afternoon in 2013 with a bag, cell phone and laptop. He had no job, little money, no place to live and nothing but his hope and optimism. When remembering this time, Russell says, “I came to Bellingham and found out I couldn’t stay at my girlfriend’s house. I went to the shelter the next day and stayed there for a while.” The homeless shelter helped Russell make a plan, get connected with medical and housing services and eventually, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.

Russell’s Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor contracted with Cascade Connections in October 2013 to provide Independent Living Services for Russell. From the start, Russell was very proactive in participating in services, always on time or early, following up when asked, and working hard on whatever projects were at hand. In November 2013, Cascade Connections helped Russell procure a job at Soy House and was on hand to help him learn and maintain a dishwashing job. Since Russell had to walk home from work late at night, his job coach helped him purchase a bicycle. Russell now enjoys the freedom of riding it all over Bellingham. Russell remembers that, “Lan was my coach until I got a job at Soy House. Then, Joe became my job coach. He comes and sees me once a week on Thursday and talks to me and my employer. Now I get to wear gloves and white T-shirts and all.”

Cascade Connections also helped Russell obtain his own housing last summer (2014). With a job, a home, furniture, friends, and a bicycle, Russell truly had a home! To help him in keeping his new home, Russell became a client of Cascade Connections’ Home Care program. Now a client of two programs with Cascade Connections – Vocational and Home Care – Russell has flourished with the support he receives at home and at work.

With two Home Care Aides, Russell says that some of his favorite things about having them come are that “Cascade caregivers take me to places”, and “I like cooking lasagna with my caregiver”. Cascade Connections’ care aides help Russell with problem solving, medical issues, going to appointments, meal planning and preparation, and so much more. Care aides enjoy working with Russell as much as he enjoys working with them. Russell shared, “There are many people like me. They should work with Cascade.” We couldn’t agree more with Russell!

Russell’s success would not have been possible without your prayers and your generous financial support. By partnering with us you help us provide the needed supports and training to help people like Russell develop their gifts and talents so that they can live independently and thrive in their community.