MEET LAVERNE: She has been an adviser for several years now. Read on to hear her thoughts and observations....and to experience a unique level of dedication!
KARIE, WHY DID YOU WANT TO INTERVIEW YOUR MOM FOR OUR BLOG?
I just thought it would be different to have an adviser interviewed because all our members have been interviewed already. And I'm so glad she wants to be involved. After I interviewed her, I went to work with a joyful heart that day because of the interview and for everything she has accomplished and helped me accomplish too. At first she didn't want to be interviewed, but she said if it's something you want, Karie, I'll do it for you.
MOM, WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT THE SAN LUIS VALLEY?
I like the weather here in the summer when it's not too hot. I love the mountains that surround it.
DID YOU SEE MUCH ABOUT DISABILITY WHEN YOU WERE GROWING UP?
I hadn't seen anyone with a disability here in the valley, but when my sister and I went to Pueblo and lived with our grandmother, some students would go to mass at the mental health hospital....the state institution. Through the Catholic Church, we'd volunteer and go and participate in mass on Sundays. I saw people with disabilities there, really for the first time.
WHAT HOPE DO YOU HAVE FOR YOUR DAUGHTER?
I don't see her living on her own for a two years more maybe. I want you to stay involved with this organization and to come up with more ideas to help your situation and others. I'd like to see you hold an office at the state level that has a bigger role. I see you eventually living on your own. I know one person who lives in her own apartment with a community of people around her. It's several buildings in a row with other folks and seniors in them. So you can live on your own and be involved a lot with others too.
WHAT PLACES HAVE YOU TRAVELED TO?
Since I retired, I went to Europe, Croatia, Rome, Venice, Portugal. I was just wonderful. I went to the Vatican. I also vacation with my husband each year. We go to Las Vegas for his pool tournament and I go shopping and sight seeing.
DO YOU MISS WORK? WHAT DO YOU DO WITH YOUR SPARE TIME NOW?
No I do not miss work. I enjoy seeing my co-workers at City Market when I go grocery shopping there. I am involved with People First now and with helping out at our church. We have two step-grandchildren now and 3 days a week I watch them after school. And one time a month, I go to lunch with my retired co-workers and that is very special.
WHY DID YOU WANT TO BE AN ADVISER OF PEOPLE FIRST?
I missed out when I was working on helping Karie with the organizations she is involved in and I wanted to be more involved and help out as much as I can.
WHAT ARE YOU LEARNING FROM PEOPLE FIRST?
Oh, an immense amount. So many people do more than what the public sees....and are just regular people with this hiccup in their lives. I watched one of our members start by living at home and then getting a part time job and then moving into his own place and then learning to cook. Watching him really brought things forward for me. How folks learn to manage for themselves and to help others has been really eye opening for me. It's a great opportunity to keep broadening my horizons instead of looking just at the small scope of things.
TELL ABOUT GETTING INVOLVED WITH SPECIAL OLYMPICS.
I first started attending with Karie and I saw the help she got from it. She really grew there too. It helped her ability to walk. She learned to run there. Being involved with so many people helped her. I learned to help coach even. It was overwhelming sometimes, but I enjoy all of it.
KARIE, DID ANYTHING IN YOUR MOM'S INTERVIEW SURPRISE YOU?
Yes, I didn't know about her growing up and going to the institution to volunteer, I never knew that. I was happy about it because it was a part of her past and that is important to her and her sister and my great grandmother. She lived with her grandmother, my great grandmother for a while.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT WHAT SHE HOPES FOR YOU?
We talked about that this past Sunday. I can picture myself living on my own, but I don't know when yet.
INTERVIEW DECEMBER 22, 2014 BY KARIE VALDEZ AND ANNA COLLINS
COPYRIGHT PEOPLE FIRST-SAN LUIS VALLEY