105 Campus Drive, Oneonta, NY 13820
The date was October 21, 1983. It was the day that would be the beginning of a beautiful relationship; the day that Carrie Simmons was to begin touching the lives of Springbrook staff for the next thirty years. That year, her family decided that she would benefit from attending The School at Springbrook—or, at the time, the Upstate Baptist Home for Children—as a residential student.
Carrie attended and lived at The School at Springbrook for several years, and then became a day student until she graduated in 1993. That was a big year not only for her, but for Springbrook as well because that fall, Carrie would become the first person to apply for a Home and Community-Based Service (HCBS) Waiver with the help of Medicaid Service Coordinator, Judy Beebe. Having this waiver would mean that Springbrook could support Carrie while she lived in her family’s home in Laurens.
Left: Carrie's 1986-87 yearbook photo
In 1993 Carrie became old enough to qualify for day habilitation. Unfortunately, Springbrook did not yet have a program that would work for Carrie, so she instead went to ARC until eventually, we were able to meet her needs. She attended the Springbrook day habilitation program for fourteen years, until June 2014, when she moved away.
Through the HCBS waiver, Carrie’s family acquired funding for modifications at her home to accommodate her mobility needs, which meant navigating her wheelchair at home with greater ease. This also allowed her to gain independence by being able to wheel herself around, rather than needing as much assistance from her mother. She also gained mobility over the years through the help of a physical therapist.
Another big change that occurred was Carrie’s interaction with other people, which was a challenge for her before coming to Springbrook. The combination of peer interactions at school and her getting used to the regular visits from workers and aides in her home allowed her to make connections with people. Eventually, she became very attached to several Springbrook employees, including Wendy, her therapist. Carrie’s MSC at the time, Elayne Mosher Campoli, recalls, “She was happy to see any of us, but when Wendy walked into the room, Carrie would light up. Wendy was able to work with Carrie in ways that no one else could!”
Right: Carrie at her Day Hab Farewell Party, in Oneonta 2014
Even though Carrie recently moved away and will no longer be receiving services through Springbrook, we are proud of her and all that she has accomplished over the years. As with all of the individuals and family members Springbrook supports, she is another thread in the fabric that makes us who we are.