As young adults, most of us correctly assumed that we would go on to live independent lives, with full-time employment, housing, and a car to transport us between the two. But, for some individuals with disabilities, the path to independence is riddled with challenges, and requires the help of some very dedicated people to navigate.
Enter Bobbi Wigand, Executive Director of Victory Living Programs in Fort Lauderdale. She leads an organization dedicated to helping adults with disabilities reach a newfound level of independence and opportunity. Through unique assistance programs, individuals are taught vital skills and equipped to achieve their goals.
“We can be recipients of other people’s kindness. We can also have the joy of giving back.”
In the decade she’s worked for the organization, Bobbi has seen first-hand the challenges Florida’s disability community faces. She cites financial pressure as a major hindrance for the adults in the Victory Living Program.
“With the passage of the ABLE Act, individuals are afforded the opportunity to be able to save money, above the $2,000 limit, to assist them with expenses they have without it affecting their ability to continue to receive services and Medicaid, which is vitally important as many of the individuals only have part-time jobs that do not provide medical insurance,” Bobbi says. “The limit of $2,000 restricts their ability to be independent.”
Victory Living’s motto is to “live, work and play independently.” Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the Supported Living Program enjoy their own apartments with a full set of responsibilities. The staff teach and provide assistance with various life skills such as budgeting, paying bills, creating shopping lists, cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. They also assist with medical appointments and follow-through and with utilizing community resources.
Providing holistic services is a top priority. Individuals are offered unique social events to engage with their peers and the community as a whole. Volunteer opportunities are presented through the Adult Day Training Program. Nursing homes, food pantries and neighboring non-profit organizations have all been recipients of their help.
Organizations like Victory Living are helping contribute to increased acceptance of differently abled people in communities around Florida. ABLE United is honored to highlight disability advocate and supporter, Bobbi Wigand, as our latest Face of ABLE.