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Finding hope through life’s challenges

When Teresita Cabasag moved here with her husband and son from the Philippines four years ago, she knew they would be faced with numerous challenges, but continuing to be full-time caregivers for their son, Jan Michael, who has Down syndrome, has been one of the toughest things they’ve ever experienced.

The couple’s 26-year-old son, who needs round-the-clock care, has the functionality of a 3-year-old and needs help with almost everything, so they share this responsibility as much as possible, but neither one had ever had formal caregiver training.

That changed in January, however, when Teresita met Jenny Ap, Neighborhood House caregiver services coordinator, who helped her client see that there are many community resources for the taking, and one need only reach out and grab hold of them.

Through the ‘Powerful Tools’ training for caregivers class, Teresita has learned how to take better care of both herself and Jan Michael by examining the difficulties, hardships and burdens that caregivers face, while understanding how to conquer them.

And while she’s been taking computer classes at Wiley Center Neighborhood House in order to catch up with technology, Teresita admits that while she owns a cell phone, she isn’t completely sure of how to use it. Yet.

The 67-year-old has also impressed her husband, a cook, by way of her own culinary skills developed through the healthy cooking classes taught at Yesler Community Center.

“My husband is so happy that I’ve learned to cook healthy foods and focus on vegetables while learning all about saturated fats,” she says.

But it’s her love of history—particularly American history—that has led her to pursue citizenship classes, also taught through Neighborhood House.  After 24 years of waiting to come to the United States, her dream of becoming a U.S. citizen will be realized next year, after she takes the U.S Citizenship Test.

She adds, “You must first be resourceful and always think positively. Blessings won’t come to you if don’t make an effort to learn and try on your own.”

Good advice for all.