We Served 2,598 People in 2016
411Number of people who received support to transition from homelessness or institutional settings to independent living
356Number of participants who got a job or received support to succeed at a job
873Number of participants who maintained their independence through our personal care services
Paraquad’s tagline — The Disability Experts — is more than just a catchy slogan. We have more than 100 employees working hard every day to change the conversation about disabilities in St. Louis. From empowering a person with a disability to transition from a nursing home into their own home or partnering with a major corporation to show why accessibility is so important, Paraquad has the resources to make positive change in St. Louis.
Here are two examples of how Paraquad has helped bring change to people’s lives:
Claire Solomon became a participant at Paraquad in 2011 after her mom found out about the Vocational Education Program, which teaches basic life skills to adults with disabilities. Since Claire wouldn’t turn 18 for a few years, she instead began attending Youth Group meetings.
At the meetings, Claire quickly befriended other participants and Stephanie McDowell, Paraquad’s youth and family education specialist. She also decided she wanted to give a presentation about her own disability to the group.
In June 2012, Claire presented “Awareness of Hidden Disabilities,” for which she earned her Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest achievement offered by the organization. Following the presentation, Claire and other youth group members participated in a spirited discussion.
A year later, with Stephanie’s encouragement, Claire applied for and was chosen as a delegate to the Missouri Youth Leadership Forum, a career leadership-training program for high school students with disabilities sponsored by Paraquad and the Governor’s Council on Disability. She was invited back in 2014 to serve as a staff member and was recently named the 2014 Youth Leadership Award winner.
Claire is an art student at Missouri State University. While not attending school, she volunteers at Paraquad and other community organizations.
Anita Pierce lives in historic Lafayette Square with her three dogs and cat. And while she absolutely loves her building’s location, including its close proximity to Lafayette Park, she began having trouble several years ago negotiating the stairs leading to her second-story apartment.
“I counted the stairs as I would go up. I have 18 and a half. It would take me 20 minutes,” Anita recalled.
Anita’s doctor diagnosed her as having four deteriorating discs in her back. She elected to have a minor surgical procedure designed to provide a degree of relief.
Following surgery, Anita was concerned about accessing her apartment.
“There is no way in the world I could have gone up and down the stairs,” she said.
Before Anita had surgery, a friend told her about Paraquad’s Home Modification Program, which provides financial resources for modifications to ensure a person is able to live independently.
Anita initially called to ask about a handrail for her outside steps. When Paraquad staff members went to her apartment, they discovered a stair lift could be easily installed along the interior flight of stairs.
After Anita and Paraquad staff members discussed the situation with her landlord, he agreed to have the stair lift installed, a decision Anita attributes to their amicable relationship.
“I’m one of those tenants who pays rent on time and is never short,” she said.
Anita calls her stair lift her “guardian angel,” and said it has helped her in countless ways.
“I’ve been very happy with it since the moment it was installed.”
Paraquad served more than 2,500 people like Claire and Anita in 2016. We have the resources to help you or someone you know achieve your independent living goals.