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George breaks down barriers

To an outsider, it might not have looked like much, but when George reached out and touched a cow at a farm in Perry County, it was a momentous surprise!

Fearful of animals, George, who lives in a CPARC community home in Harrisburg, didn’t like their unpredictable behavior. “That’s what makes this such a great accomplishment,” said Kelly Smith, program advisor. “We helped him, but George got out of his comfort zone all on his own.”

When you make a gift to the CPARC Foundation, you help individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities achieve personal milestones –achievements that would not be possible without the quality care they receive from CPARC’s dedicated staff.

Last year, George had shared with CPARC staff his desire to overcome a fear of animals. Since then CPARC staff has worked to slowly introduce George to calm, gentle animals. With time and through trust built in his staff, George eventually felt confident enough to reach out and touch the cow; the largest animal he had come across!

“In our field, having constant staff and consistency is good for the individuals,” Kelly said. “He trusts us, so we will do whatever we can to help George achieve his goals.”

Because of Kelly’s connections, they visited Smith Dairy Farm for a close encounter with the cows. Seeing George reach out and make contact with the animals was a huge moment for both George and Kelly.

“George surprised all of us when he touched two calves and a full-grown cow,” Kelly said, excitedly. “They stuck their tongues out and he laughed at them. He absolutely loved it.”

This is indeed a big step for George, who only recently began petting small animals. He’s been around animals on community outings before (the Horse Expo and PA Farm Show), but George never had the courage to reach out to the animals before.

With staff encouragement over the last year, George has become more outgoing. Jennifer Speelman, supervisor at the home, credits the change in George’s attitude to the commitment of the staff. “George is opening up more,” Jennifer said.

Because of you, George has a supportive team at CPARC as he works to gain the courage and confidence to reach his goals.