Rob is celebrating two milestones in 2023. He moved out of his parents’ home and into shared living ten years ago. That same year he got a job working at Triangle Credit Union, supported by an Aspire direct support professional (DSP). From this stable base, Rob has spread his wings.

Over the past ten years Rob has dramatically increased his language and social skills, become an active and contributing member of his household, and earned a reputation as a hardworking, reliable employee.

The first insight into what was possible for Rob came with his job at Triangle Credit Union. Even when he was struggling in other areas of his life, he rose to every occasion at work. He was courteous, responsive, and dedicated to his tasks. For Rob, employment is where he first made the leap into adulthood. Ten years in, his work at the credit union is still a vital part of his week.

Rob shares a home with Sarah, her husband, and their two boys. Sarah is a contracted home provider through Aspire. She recalls that during those first years, people were reluctant to nudge Rob out of his comfort zone: “For a long time we would do the exact same things to avoid the ‘what ifs.’” So much has changed.

The pandemic created many hardships, but for Rob it turned out to be an opportunity. With the trust established by years of support for his decisions, Rob was able to meet the challenges of the pandemic. “We had no choice but to do things differently during the lockdown, and then everything kept changing. It broke a lot of rigidity. Now we welcome days that don’t all look the same, and we have one flexible guy on our hands.” These days, Rob takes change in stride and approaches new experiences with more excitement then anxiety.

You can see the impact of that openness on how much Rob’s world as grown. A few years ago, he had taken on a second job in the Aspire office doing shredding. In 2022 he added a third job: maintenance at the local McDonald’s. “I clean the chairs and tables. I also sweep the lobby floor. I fill the ice and help with the trays and happy meals if needed.” Working every day has given him not only more income, but pride in his ability to learn new tasks and work alongside many different people.

Rob recently went out on his first date without a DSP present, taking his girlfriend to a Valentine’s dance. Surprisingly, they met during the pandemic when everyone was stuck at home. Rob was feeling lonely and told Sarah about it. Sarah had a friend whom she knew was feeling the same way. She introduced them by phone, and soon they were facetiming regularly. What started as a friendship has now blossomed into romance. Rob can’t help but smile when he talks about her, “We went on a sleigh ride at Charmingfare Farm.”

Meeting his girlfriend hasn’t been the only serendipity in Rob’s life. This spring Rob and his father are headed to Australia for a tour of the country. Rob originally won the trip in a contest back in 2019 through the Dreamride Experience in Connecticut, but the trip was postponed until this year because of the pandemic. They are beyond excited to finally be heading out on this adventure.

Rob’s world is a big one, and growing every day.

Stories of Impact

Rob’s Story: Milestones in A Big World