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“Remember to call your Mother.”

Most of us have been on the receiving end of that message, and it seems like a small, easy act… picking up your phone to call a loved one, but in Jackie Dossey’s case, she had never received a call from her son Koby. Koby is autistic and nonverbal. Phone calls and other communications were always initiated by Jackie “checking-in” on her son once he moved into SJCS supportive housing two years ago. However, a few weeks ago Jackie’s life changed when she looked at her iPhone and it read “Koby’s iPad” as it rang.

During this Advocates for All interview with Jackie Dossey, and Alan Thornton, SJCS President & CEO, we get a heartfelt and in-depth recount of how the belief in our mission of “Advancing inclusive communities where everyone, regardless of circumstances, has the right and opportunity to live their best life,” has been put into action. “They are so invested in their individuals,” Jackie shared of the SJCS team that works with her son.

Right before COVID-19 had us all sheltering in place, Koby had received a new iPad for communication. He had to continue his therapy remotely to learn how to use his iPad; and while we have all struggled being isolated, these times have been especially hard for the individuals we support and their families. However, in the face of adversity—which Koby is no stranger to—he continued his therapy and was excelling with his new iPad. Koby’s advancements in communicating may seem like the culmination of a lot of hard work and support, but honestly, it’s just one more opportunity for Koby to be in the driver’s seat of his life, gaining independence and ways to communicate to the world around him. “It’s not just about efficiency or convenience, it’s empowering,” says Alan Thornton, on why SJCS is so passionate about using technology to support people’s independence.

SJCS strongly believes that regardless of an individual’s circumstance, whether that be economic status, race, religion, age, mental or physical disability, sex, sexual orientation or identity⁠—the people we serve, our employees and those we encounter in the communities we serve, deserve the right and opportunity to live their best lives. Our video series Advocates for All, are compilations of candid, personal and in-depth interviews with individuals sharing their experiences, ideas, and thoughts on what it means to be an advocate, an ally, and a member of our incredibly diverse community.

We are St. John’s Community Services and we are Advocates for All!

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