Kyle – Being Treated Like Everyone Else
February 23, 2022
As the Residential Programs Manager at Irby Ranch, I’m fortunate enough to meet some really wonderful people. One such person is Kyle, this month’s Irby Ranch Resident Spotlight!
Kyle has been living at Irby Ranch since February 2021. When I first met him, I was struck by his bold personality, polite nature, and active listening skills. As I’ve gotten to know him, I’ve seen that Kyle is an amazing advocate for himself and others, politely engaging with staff when he has questions about programs or his apartment.
When I asked Kyle what his strengths were, he humbly replied, “I’m not sure.” Thankfully Natalie, his support staff, was quick to respond that “Kyle is compassionate, (a) great leader, kind, and outgoing.” That outgoing nature has helped him make “plenty of friends” at Irby Ranch, he said. He shared with me that he and his closest friend, Bruce, hang out “almost every day – playing board games, watch TV and sometimes work (on) car models.”
Kyle has been working at a local middle school as a noontime supervisor for nearly nine years and loves that he can help others. “Every day you never know what’s going to happen. It always brings you different challenges,” he said. Kyle watches the kids during lunch and helps with deliveries. “I enjoy seeing most kids and hanging out with my colleagues in P.E.,” he said.
When he’s not working or hanging out with friends, Kyle enjoys camping – Death Valley is one of his favorite spots. He also likes playing basketball and football. He absolutely loves Jeep Wranglers, especially the Jeep Wrangler 392. He likes that they “finally came out with a V-8.” Kyle is very knowledgeable about Jeeps, sharing that “they first started using them in World War II and now look at how far they’ve come!”
On Living Independently
Kyle, who has been living independently since 2021, says that he has so much more freedom now and that he doesn’t have to “bother my parents, especially if I want (to have) people over.” He also smiled and shared, “now there’s no curfew!”
Kyle’s mom shares his joy in living independently. “Kyle’s transition to living independently has been very exciting,” she said. “We’re so happy to see Kyle becoming his own person!”
When I asked Kyle what living independently means to him, he replied:
- Being able to do certain things by yourself: make my own transportation appointments, make my own appointments, do laundry.
- I can invite friends over to my own place.
- Being treated like everyone else.
Kyle has the following tips for anyone wanting to live independently:
- Listen and pay attention to all the details when signing the lease.
- Be mindful towards neighbors (noise, etc.)
- Keep everything neat in your apartment.
- Be mindful of others’ time and space.
- Be respectful towards others.
On Living at Irby Ranch
Kyle loves having a first-floor apartment at Irby Ranch and really enjoys all of the space. He shared that when he first visited the community, “there was a sense of freedom, plus nice and understanding people.” He also loves that he can decorate his apartment “however I want!” Kyle’s favorite spot in his apartment is his bedroom window next to his bed. “It’s a perfect spot to take afternoon naps,” he said.
Kyle enjoys the activities and programs at Irby Ranch, especially Pet Therapy and the American Sign Language classes taught by a fellow resident. He looks forward to being able to spend more time attending activities in the future.
Thoughts on the Pandemic
Like so many people, Kyle experienced being out of work at the beginning of the pandemic. He’s back at it now and told me that he enjoys working. Kyle also shared that pandemic-related restrictions left him feeling disconnected from others – friends, coworkers, peers, and family. He was sad that he wasn’t able to see his sister, who is a nurse, during the shelter-in-place. He’s able to see her regularly now and hopes that there won’t be any new restrictions in the future.
Plans for 2022
This summer, Kyle hopes to go camping with his family for his birthday. He’s also looking forward to joining more afternoon activities and programs at Irby Ranch if his work schedule allows. I look forward to engaging with him more in 2022!
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Story by: Pratimajit Kaur, Sunflower Hill at Irby Ranch Residential Programs Manager
Contributing Writer: Rachel Clark, Sunflower Hill Communications Manager