|Tracey Jarrett and her family have had a
lifelong relationship with Abilities United
The wonderful progress that has been made over the years both by Abilities United and its clients could not have happened without the efforts of many parents in the community. A great example is Laurie Jarrett.
In 1973, Laurie learned that her baby daughter Tracey had Down Syndrome. “I was in shock,” says Laurie. “Tracy started in the infant stimulation program when she was four months old. The agency (Abilities United) was an absolute lifeline for me; Tracy was learning and so was I.”
“All the literature for Down Syndrome at that time emphasized very low expectations,” says Laurie. “That just did not sit well with me. I raised Tracy with the same expectations I had for my other two daughters. That was all reinforced at the agency as well.”
Through what is now Abilities United, Tracy became involved with swimming and then Special Olympics. She would continue swimming at Abilities United for years. After going through the public school system, Tracy again re-engaged with Abilities United in 2002, which led to a job a local movie theater. “She worked there for five years and she loved it,” says Laurie. “She was so proud to put on her uniform and go to work at the theater.”
From her participation in the Abilities United Independent Living Skills Program Tracey developed the skills that enable her to live with greater independence, and today she has her own apartment in Palo Alto. “ “The Abilities United Employment Services helped Tracey get job at Stanford working for food services in one of the dorms,” says Laurie. “It’s just wonderful.”
“This is a lifetime association with the agency,” says Laurie. “When Tracy had her 40th birthday, it was a given that we’d have the party at Abilities United.” Laurie shares a photo from an Abilities United Author’s Luncheon, where both mother and daughter are beaming. “You can see there how proud I am,” she says, as she brushes away a tear of happiness.
Her advice to parents of a child with Down Syndrome? “Contact Abilities United right now. It will be the best thing that ever happened to you and your family.”
Based on a 2013 interview. Written by Bob Thomas. Edited by Laurie Jarrett and Wendy Kuehnl