Resources for Adults with Disabilities

Client Stories

The people of Willows Way tell a story of determination, hope, and passion. When the organization was started in 1990 by Kathy Williamson and Mary Owens, it was to provide essential resources for adults with disabilities. Little did they know the impact their services would have and their clients’ effect on the community.

Over the years, we have witnessed individuals exceed their limits and accomplish their goals. We have been inspired by their unique personalities and their positive impact on our organization and beyond.

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Meet Samantha

Samantha C. transitioned from our Pre-ISLA program to our ISLA program and is now living independently. Unfortunately, neither of Samantha’s parents are involved in her life. Prior to moving to her own apartment, she was living with her sister and her family. Samantha has been preparing to live independently for some time and has been practicing essential life skills such as cooking and cleaning. When she decided it was time to move, she was referred to Willows Way to assess her independence capabilities. During the Pre-ISLA program, Samantha learned how to budget her money, follow up with medical treatment, and correctly use over-the-counter medications. She has also been able to increase her credit score and savings. Thanks to the housing assistance she applied for, Samantha can now afford her new apartment without financial difficulty.

Woman with short brown hair and a pink shirt

Samantha was aware of the importance of managing her finances wisely. With the help of the Willows Way staff, she developed a budget and a plan to improve her credit score. Samantha uses her credit card strategically and ensures she pays off the balance every month. She understands that impulsive purchases can have an adverse impact on her budget and her ability to repay the debt in a timely manner.

Samantha is confident that she will succeed in living independently. She believes in her ability to make sound financial decisions. However, her aspirations do not end there; she aims to pursue further education in the healthcare sector. Additionally, she is keen on spending some of her free time volunteering and buying a vehicle to facilitate her daily commute to work. From the very beginning, Samantha has shown great enthusiasm for the program; even during challenging times, she has remained focused on her goals.

Meet Kaylee

Kaylee started attending the RISE program three years ago. When asked what she likes about Willows Way, she said, “I like that there are other people to talk to and socialize with. I like being able to go out and do things.” Kaylee said, “It makes me feel good when I work hard on something or figure something out on my own.” Her favorite activity is Craftibility. It aligns with her love of arts and crafts.

Willows Way allows Kaylee to discover new passions like volunteering and learning about the world. Kaylee actively contributes to the community by volunteering at the food pantry. She said, “I like to put food in bags for people in need.” She participates in Traveling Tuesday, which allows her to learn about diverse cultures from around the world. Recently, Kaylee participated in an advocacy class offered to RISE clients. Through this experience, she connected with self-advocates who inspired her to join People First in St. Charles. Now an active member, Kaylee has seized opportunities to attend various conferences across the state. The sky is the limit for Kaylee’s future.

Woman with short brown hair and a pink shirt