Meaningful Lives: Ashley's Story

Meaningful Lives: Ashley's Story

The best part of our jobs at InVision Human Services is seeing the people we support experience joy, live meaningful lives, and have opportunities to create life-long memories. InVision Foundation’s Meaningful Lives Grant—designed to remove economic barriers to enjoying hobbies, arts, recreation, entertainment, and travel—helps us support individualized activities that may otherwise be inaccessible to those we serve. 
Most recently, a Meaningful Lives grant made it possible for Ashley, a person supported, and her direct support professionals (DSPs) to enjoy a day trip to New York City with one specific goal in mind: a visit to the American Girl Doll store. 

Recognizing a Need 

The American Girl Doll was created in 1986 with the goal of inspiring girls to grow up with a strong mind, confidence, resilience, and to discover themselves. American Girl Dolls have played a huge role in Ashley’s life; in which she has acquired a collection over the years that she cherishes deeply. 
In the past and prior to her blindness, Ashley had the opportunity to visit the American Girl Doll store—a trip she talks about often. With this in mind, Ashley’s team of DSPs and program supervisors recognized the positive impact a day trip to New York would have on Ashley. As such, Ashley’s team worked diligently through the planning and application process to make another trip for Ashley possible. 
“Being awarded a Meaningful Lives Grant meant that Ashley had an opportunity to get out of the house and do something she greatly enjoys,” Teresa Stevenson, Ashley’s DSP of 11 years, said.
The grant’s funding included expenses for travel to and from New York City, a visit to the American Girl Doll store, a new doll of Ashley’s choosing, and dinner for Ashley and her accompanying DSPs. 

A Day of Pure Bliss

The morning of their trip, Ashley excitedly got ready for the journey to her favorite store, smiling and chatting the whole hour-and-a-half drive to get there. Upon their arrival, Ashley was given four different dolls to touch and learn about, choosing a beautiful doll in a silver dress to add to her collection. After browsing the store and purchasing her newest doll, Ashley and her DSPs enjoyed dinner in the city, where they talked brightly about their day and enjoyed comfort food before heading home. 
“The most important part of this trip was seeing Ashley so excited about something,” Teresa added. “On a day-to-day, Ashley can be monotoned, but the whole trip she was verbal and signing, smiling, wanting to take pictures of everything, and was in very high spirits. You can just see how happy she was in the pictures. As Ashley’s DSP, it was a magical experience.” 
Seeing Ashley’s shining smile and hearing about the happiness she experienced on this trip brings joy to all of us at InVision and reinforces the reason we do this work for the people we support each day. 
InVision Foundation is continuously grateful for its donors that make trips such as Ashley’s possible. For those looking to donate, please visit the donation page on our website.