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Woman with Special Needs Becomes an Advocate Through HeartShare Respite Programs

July 1, 2014

Impact Stories

Yshevia is an active participant in HeartShare’s Respite Recreation Program, which was designed to give families and caretakers a much-needed break from their 24/7 responsibilities during weeknights, weekends and holidays while offering a wide array of exciting activities for group members. Heels and Wheels, one of HeartShare’s 16 recreation programs, was specially created for those who have difficulty walking or who use a wheelchair. Individuals meet at least monthly for diverse local trips, including to museums, sports venues, restaurants, bowling alleys, plays, movies, zoos and parks. Exploring New York City together is also an opportunity to strengthen socialization skills. “It’s a chance to meet new people,” said Yshevia, who has developed friendships with other members of the group since joining in 1999. These outings also have been an experience for personal growth. “Yshevia advocates for herself and the group. If the bowling alley or movie theater isn’t completely wheelchair accessible, she’ll not only tell the staff, but she’ll actively boycott that business,” noted Heels and Wheels Supervisor Anita Adams. “I’m not afraid to speak up,” Yshevia proudly states. Yshevia, who graduated from the Brooklyn Transition Center, is currently a College Assistant at Medgar Ever’s Office of Services for the Differently Abled and has been working at the college for the past 15 years.