When the Echols first attended one of The Full Life Ahead Foundation’s workshop/trainings at Children’s Harbor, two important things happened for Josh. The first was during one of the teen/young adult sessions where we work on helping them identify their gifts and strengths, put together an action plan, and bring in Vocational Rehabilitation counselors to help with concrete “Next Steps”. Josh was challenged by another participant with a much more significant disAbility to “go for his dreams”. When he realized that she was planning on going to college and had very definite plans for her future, he began to seriously reconsider what he was doing with his life and yearned for a career instead of just the job he had at Publix.

The second thing was the showers in the family rooms at Children’s Harbor. With the design of this shower, Josh was able to care for himself without assistance from either of his parents. As he did not have this ability at home, he really wanted a shower so he could be more independent.

Ron and Suzanne decided to begin to have a HOPE Team meeting (facilitated by The Full Life Ahead Foundation) for Josh…bringing together family, friends, service providers and the community at large to help brainstorm and possibility think of solutions for the changes Josh wanted in his life. This led to the replacement of his shower with one like he used at camp, offered opportunities for Josh to strengthen his arms, gave him the avenue to take swimming lessons, and gave him HOPE for the life he craved.

Josh was told by his job coach of the possibility of a position at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital, and he wanted that job with every fiber of his being. After a very successful interview with George Harding, he was hired. Within a couple of weeks, he was a “full time” employee on track with his “career” and extremely excited about all of the possibilities of promotions at the VA Hospital.

Josh has a supervisor who believes in him and his potential! What an incredible change he has attained for himself!