Building a Bright Future

Aleksandr has his sights on the future: a challenging business career, maybe even a family one day. But at age 4, when he arrived in the United States from Russia, it was hard to see that far ahead.  He had been diagnosed at birth with cerebral palsy, a complex disorder that makes it difficult for him stand, sit and perform personal care such as bathing.

When Aleksandr was 9, his family moved to Arizona, and they turned to Arizona MENTOR’s Home and Community-Based Services team for support. The staff partnered with them to set positive goals for Aleksandr, including improved motor and social skills.

Understanding the Family’s Needs

The MENTOR team got to know Aleksandr and his family so they could design a plan of support that worked for them. Aleksandr was paired with a Russian-speaking Direct Service Provider (DSP), who provided a wide range of supports to Aleksandr, including help with mobility and personal care and supporting him in attending school. Aleksandr also says that the team helped him to work through emotional challenges in a positive way so that he could stay focused on his goals.

“They helped me with everything.  Whatever need I had, they were there,” Aleksandr said.

One of the top goals Aleksandr and his family set was for him to graduate from high school. Determined to succeed, Aleksandr worked with the team to improve skills so he could attend classes regularly and complete assignments. After a lot of hard work and help from the team, Aleksandr graduated. The family knew they had a lot to celebrate, but it was just the beginning.

Looking Toward the Future

Now 26, Aleksandr has received his Bachelor’s degree in International Business Management from Arizona State University.  He has completed an internship with an Arizona Senator and now assists his father in his barber shop, putting his schooling to work managing business operations.  While he enjoys helping with the family business, his ultimate goal is to find permanent employment focused on economics and international trade. He continues to work on reaching goals that he set long ago at Arizona MENTOR, including increasing his socialization, and would like to see himself in a committed relationship.

Aleksandr says that Arizona MENTOR made a difference for him because they were willing to help him with any challenge he had, no matter what.

“My DSP would take me to school, help me to all my classes and even carry all my books and my backpack. He would sit with me in class.  He would always encourage me, and tell me that I could do it… and not to quit!”