Emily , Options – Emily is the ASL signer and inspiration for her business – Love Letters by Emily, created to provide job-training opportunities and an active lifestyle for her during her adult years.

Orders for the handmade prints and cards and gifts featuring her American Sign Language messages of LOVE and inspiration are received via her Etsy shop and at local markets, and she works with her family and staff daily to keep up with the business.

Her Options staff assists with the variety of community outings, special events and craft fairs ~ while helping Emily to participate in all the work related tasks and activities.

Once the work is done – there’s always time for some fun and recreation. Emily enjoys swimming, shopping and movies ~ and meeting friends for lunch accompanied by her Options staff after all their trips to the post office and deliveries are done…and her staff (who are all able to communicate in sign with her) are happy to accommodate her request for an iced tea at Dunkin’ Donuts on the way home!

Maureen, Options – Becoming Self-Directed was the best decision I have made. Being able to control every aspect of the hiring. training and the management of your PCAs gives me a sense of self-confidence that is undeniably freeing. I love the fact that I don’t need permission from an agency to do what I want, when I want and how I want. Being Self-Directed allows me to really be really in-sync with my PCAs, and we share mutual appreciation in what I can achieve in my daily life. – Maureen Gaynor, author, What If Nobody Finds Out Who I Am?

Matt, Options – With the support of his family and staff, has been self-directing his services through the OPTIONS Program for over 10 years. At 31 years old, Matt utilizes a staff of four individuals; these amazing individuals work as a collaborative team while supporting Matt (and each other) in order to help him build a rewarding life.

His days are filled with working to further develop his cookie making business. Baking, packaging, counting, delivering cookies … along with the banking, shopping and planning needed to maintain this enterprise, has lasted almost 8 years. He delivers his delicious cookies to three establishments weekly in addition to the occasional special orders that people love. With the support of his “ambassadors”, his presence in the community has increased due in part to this business. There are many days where someone stops us and says “I love Matty B. Cookies”!

With Matt’s sweet personality and the wonderful individuals who surround him, Matt’s life continues to be successful due to the ability to utilize Self-Directed Supports through the Options Program. He makes choices every day to live life HIS way, and with the support of family and staff, he has created a safe, productive and meaningful life.

Molly Smith, Options – Hi, my name is Molly Smith and I’ve been a part of Ocean State Community Resources Options program for the past nine years. It has changed my life for the better by creating my own independence.

I enjoy being able to make my own decisions, such as where I go on a day to day basis, and I even get to choose and manage my own staff.

This program has opened up so many doors for me and has built my self confidence. Thanks to options I can work, volunteer, go to school and have a social life.

I would recommend this program to anybody who strives to live an independent lifestyle.

M. Machado, PERSONAL CHOICE – With the assistance of Personal Choice Program at Options I am able to remain in the community where I grew up, while receiving the services I need. Wonderful organizations such as this, make it possible for me to gain and stay employed in a career that I love and, be an active member in society. Thank you for all that you do!

We want to hear from you! Please share your self-direction experience with Linda Vollaro.