Tony Sampson is a hard working, 41 year old family man from Montgomery County, Maryland who loves sports. He has friends & family all around the Baltimore & Washington, DC area, Philadelphia & Cairo!
Tony has a very full & fulfilling life. He has his own home, a full time job & a busy social life. He works during the day & relaxes in the evenings. He likes taking walks, hanging out with friends, & watching sports on TV. On the weekends, Tony enjoys going to museums, the library & the mall and, when at all possible, goes to WWW events, regardless of distance. Before he was in charge, his life was drastically different.
For 4 years before moving out onto his own, Tony was living in a group home with 4 people & had a job coach who never left his side. He worked as a janitor & was paid $3 every 2 weeks. Tony felt as if he was treated like an Elementary School child. He got into trouble for talking back or not doing what he was told when he was upset about something. Tony says his human rights were violated on a daily basis & when he stood up for himself, he got yelled at. When asked about how he felt, Tony stated that he was treated like a slave.
On several occasions, Tony asked his service coordinator if he could leave the group home and was always told ‘no’. The final straw came when Tony was out celebrating his birthday, became stranded & got home late. As punishment, he was put on “probation” for 3 days and wasn’t allowed to do anything. Once again, he went to his service coordinator. Only this time, he says, he demanded to get out.
In 2006, Tony discovered Walbusters, a group of people that assisted others to transfer to a different service provider or type of service. This is where he met, Diana Stewart & Tracy Wright. At that time, Tony was referred to Shared Support Maryland, Inc. & the New Directions Waiver. The New Directions Waiver allows a person to direct their services & become the employer of their own staff. SSMD helped Tony get an apartment, hire his own staff, & find a real job where he earns a real paycheck. He feels that SSMD has opened up a brand new world for him. He has seen shows, visited places, & eaten at restaurants that he had never been to.
Today, Tony enjoys inspiring others through his Self Advocacy work. For the past 5 years, Tony has been working at The Home Depot doing various tasks such as assisting customers, helping with safety & security, sorting recycling, & loading large items. Tony also writes articles for Apostrophe Magazine & sells art calendars for Art Enables. Tony feels that he is a role model & says that he has never been more proud of himself than he is right now.
We watched our son struggle through many Special Ed classes in multiple schools & group homes from Massachusetts to Virginia. With many miles between us, it was very depressing, to say the least to leave our son behind. In some cases, he had been abused in many ways, this making it harder to deal with the situation. After hitting many bumps in the road in
trying to make his quality of life better, we had to resort to institutional living for him. He made many acquaintances along the way that truly cared about him, but still in an institutional setting. The positive outcome was finding the correct medicine & dosage by the doctor at that facility.
Since leaving the institution he’s become a totally different person, in all respects.
Now, under the guidance of SSMD, he is living in his own apartment with 24-7 staffing & is always anxiously looking for work. He loves to be active. He is involved with Special Olympics & attends church. He regularly goes shopping, bowling, to the movies, & spends weekend with Mom & Dad. He’s a much calmer individual & a lot happier living a normal life in the community. With the assistance of his staff he is able to go places, achieve more goals, make decisions, & most importantly, he feels good about himself & his accomplishments. SSMD has helped our son accomplish things we thought were never in his future.
His life may not be perfect, but it’s more than we could have ever hoped for.
Due to the challenges in his life, he will never be able to appreciate the services extended by SSMD, but as his parents, “We do & we say, Thank you”.
~Nelson & Sib Corderman