Caroleen’s Story: A Journey to Independence and Self-Expression


April 1, 2024


4 minutes




Caroleen, a spirited and social soul, finds immense joy in the simple pleasures of life. Whether it’s a leisurely shopping trip or indulging in a colorful manicure that matches her effervescent personality, she finds happiness in these simple moments. In these ways, Caroleen is just like an average woman in her early 40s. However, Caroleen faces challenges presented by her disability daily. As she navigates these ongoing obstacles, she is reminded that encouragement and support can be the fuel needed to make her goals a reality.  

Before finding her place at Aspire, Caroleen expressed that she, “…felt like she was going backwards.” Each day blurred into the next with no clear purpose or goals for her future.

Joining Aspire changed the trajectory of her life.  
Caroleen enjoying a day in the
sun last summer.

Caroleen discovered hope through the programs at Aspire’s Academy and understanding from her roommates in an Aspire community home. Support from individuals like you provide Caroleen with the resources she needs to thrive. You have helped Caroleen discover a newfound purpose, igniting a spark within her, propelling her towards a future filled with promise. 

Caroleen’s journey had been littered with challenges. Her disability took a toll on her physical and mental well-being, often impeding her ability to fully enjoy life’s pleasures.  

Your generosity ensures access to the tools and assistance she needs, so she can prioritize her health, and become the person she is meant to be.

By going to the doctor regularly and speaking with a therapist weekly she has greatly reduced her anxiety and increased her confidence and independence. In Caroleen’s words, “I feel a little bit more inspired to be here.”  

Through it all she has remained resilient, buoyed by the unwavering support of her Aspire community. Caroleen’s previously dimmed personality now has the strength to shine. 

With her health improving every day, Caroleen can focus on her goals.  

Just like you and me, Caroleen savors her alone time, but due to her disability that level of independence continues to present safety concerns. Together, she and her team at Aspire, are slowly working toward growing her alone time. With your support, Caroleen is gaining the skills she needs to earn cherished hours of independence. During that time, she revels in some of her favorite past times like watching movies and listening to heavy metal music while dancing around the house.  

Caroleen shares that having time alone, “Makes me feel good!” She is building a foundation that she hopes will eventually extend into the community. 

For Caroleen, a trip to the mall to go shopping is the ultimate independent adventure, yet transportation and learning to navigate the local bus system currently stand in her way. While she builds the confidence and skills to do that, she relishes the opportunity to take trips with a companion.

You make it possible for Caroleen to explore her independence at the mall or her favorite store, Five and Below. One day, she looks forward to visiting Bath and Body Works on her own to escape into the tantalizing scents of the body sprays and perfumes she loves. 

Caroleen in front of her Aspire artwork showing off her new hairstyle,
recently painted nails, and her favorite leather jacket!

A recent triumph in choosing her own hairstyle, with purple highlights that suited her rocker image, is a testament to Caroleen’s burgeoning confidence and self-expression. Caroleen has not always been given such autonomy.

Can you imagine the disappointment of not getting to have a say in your own appearance? Your belief in Caroleen gained her the freedom to showcase her style. She can’t wait to pair her new look with her temporary tattoos and favorite leather jacket! 

Amidst her many aspirations, one goal shines brightest: a trip to sunny Florida with her friends. This goal might take time to achieve, but Caroleen continues to be fueled by the belief that every challenge conquered brings her one step closer to her dreams.

Thank you for being a beacon of hope in Caroleen’s bright future. With your unwavering support Caroleen is setting her goals high, steadfast in her pursuit of joy and fulfillment.  

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