My Experience Visiting the Home of a Person Supported

My Experience Visiting the Home of a Person Supported

Over the past nine months since my start with InVision Human Services, I have had the absolute pleasure of meeting some of the people we support through a variety of events held at our corporate and eastern offices. Interacting with those we support is easily the highlight of my job, as I can see the impact of InVision’s person-centered services and programs first-hand. Toward the end of February, I had the opportunity to visit a home to meet with Tara – a person supported by InVision – to learn more about her day-to-day life, the things she enjoys, and chat about her recent trip to Orlando, Florida. 
Tara’s trip to Orlando was funded by InVision Foundation, which raises money through a variety of funding and grant opportunities to support the development of person-driven services and essential experiences for the people supported by InVision. Foundation funding is utilized for necessary housing and health improvement, as well as activities such as hobbies, community engagement, personal growth, trips and vacations. 

What Traveling Means to Tara

During my visit with Tara and her Direct Support Professional (DSP) of ten years, Janae Dallas, our conversation was heavily centered around the Orlando trip Tara took in December 2023. It became apparent to me early on in our conversation that having the opportunity to travel is incredibly important to Tara. On Tara’s trip to Orlando during the holiday season, she and her accompanying DSPs – Janae Dallas and Donna Kwao – visited Universal Studios and Island of Adventures amusement parks, enjoyed great food, went shopping, and most importantly, created joyful memories for Tara. As I listened to an excited Tara tell me about her favorite rides, meals, and all about how the trees were lit up with lights and holiday décor, Tara pulled out a large box full of photos – many of which she had taken on her instant camera. 
With a smile on her face, Tara began sorting through her collection of photos in search of memories from Orlando – photos in which she was thrilled to display that featured smiling selfies, fancy cars, the Hello Kitty store at Universal, holiday lights, and more. 
“It took a long time for me to be able to travel,” Tara shared. “I didn’t have those experiences as a kid, but now I am able to travel, and I am enjoying myself.” 
When I asked Tara about her favorite part of her trip to Orlando, she immediately answered with shopping – she loves to shop! Along with shopping, Tara placed an emphasis on enjoying the Airbnb, as well as relaxing and spending time with her DSPs. 
Outside of visiting Florida, Tara has also traveled to New York, Ohio, New Jersey, and has plans to take a road trip to Chicago for her birthday this year. Tara noted that she would love to visit Hershey Park, Sea World to swim with dolphins, and her dream is to travel somewhere such as Mexico or Jamaica to experience other countries and cultures. 
“Traveling makes me feel free,” Tara added. “It means I don’t have to be in one spot, I can go and observe and be around other people. It makes me feel like I can be me.” 
Janae also mentioned how much she enjoyed the relaxing trip and being outside of Pennsylvania with Tara. 
“It was fun to be able to do something like that with Tara, and seeing how happy she was,” Janae said. “Experiences such as this are important for all the people InVision supports. They should be able to experience other places and have opportunities to go out and enjoy life – it’s a wonderful thing.” 
Hearing both Tara and Janae recount their experience together abetted my knowledge of the true impact of InVision Foundation. Witnessing Tara’s blissfulness as she spoke about their adventure showcased the joy the Foundation helps bring to the people we support, as this trip for Tara – and many others within our organization – would not have been attainable without the Foundation’s support. 

Getting to Know Tara

Although I went into this visit with the goal of discussing Tara’s trip to Florida, our conversation covered a variety of topics that allowed me to learn more about her on a personal level, and from the comfort of her own home. Tara is kind, energetic, and a creative person with a knack for art. She enjoys coloring, beading, and scrap booking – often using Pinterest as inspiration for her creative projects. Tara has even made various items such as bracelets, hair ties, and keychains that she plans to sell over the summer. Tara also enjoys thrift shopping, going on runs in the local area, taking pictures, and watching Netflix shows with her support staff. 
The more I learned about Tara, the more I realized that we have a lot in common – reinforcing the message that people who experience disabilities are no different than anyone else. They have the same interests, desires, hopes and dreams. My visit with Tara reminded me that it is pivotal to never lose sight of that! 
A special thank you to Tara for welcoming me into her home and for helping me – as someone who works in the corporate office – learn more about the interworking of the services and programs we offer at InVision. I left this visit with a feeling of renewed passion for my day-to-day tasks as a part of the Communications and Outreach team, as we tell the story of the people we support, our team members, and our collective experiences and accomplishments at InVision. 
For more information about InVision Foundation and ways to donate and make life-changing trips possible for people like Tara, please visit the Foundation page on our website.