Kelli had been on Magnolia's waiting list since grade school, when she participated in Magnolia's Day Program. As a Louisiana State Trooper of thirty years, working twelve hour shifts, I did my best to teach my daughter the necessary life-skills to keep her safe and included in community activities. With both parents working full-time jobs, it was difficult to spend the necessary time each morning to teach Kelli to dress and feed herself without assistance.
Kelli had been asking when she could move into an apartment with friends like her big sister; however, we knew that would never be an option. Within a few months of Kelli moving into one of Magnolia's group homes, Kelli flourished, learning how to dress and feed herself with very little assistance. While Kelli had always been a happy child, she was now excited on a daily basis with the opportunities afforded her by being a resident of Magnolia. Kelli is living with five other handicapped women in a supervised group home, with her own bedroom and daily chores that she happily continues to perform today. Kelli is afforded the opportunity to earn a small paycheck doing repetitive tasks for local companies that have been kind enough to approach Magnolia, seeking assistance. Kelli participates in weekly activities, such as bowling and tennis, which not only help with her dexterity, but provide exercise to keep her healthy. Kelli, like all the residents of Magnolia, is routinely seen by doctors and dentists to ensure she maintains a healthy lifestyle.
I know Magnolia has changed Kelli's life, my life and the lives of her sister and brother, but in addition, I have seen how the work of Magnolia has changed, for the better, the lives of everyone who comes in contact with a Magnolia client or staff member.