Services, growth and controversy: profile of a public agency

Four-part series on Boone County Family Resources, a local government agency that provides disability services / The Columbia Missourian 

Growth needs drive Boone County Family Resources’ property acquisitions

1336 words / The Columbia Missourian 

Columbia’s North Village neighborhood is a vestige of a time gone by. Many residents are fighting to keep it that way.

Homes in the North Village — which has become a thriving arts district in the northeastern quadrant of downtown — date back to the late 19th century and now are interspersed with modern duplexes. Nearby, the formerly brick-paved Short Street has been dismantled to make way for a new hotel and parking garage. Apartments under construction by Trittenbach Construction Co. at Walnut Street and College Avenue will bring 300 new residents, mostly students, to the neighborhood.

“Living across from parking lots isn’t cozy,” Nina Wilson-Keenan said. She and her husband, Patrick, bought their home at 305 St. Joseph St. in 2006. They are watching development around their home, including recent property acquisitions by Boone County Family Resources, with some trepidation.

Full story available online or on request. 

Boone County Family Resources relies on network to serve clients’ needs

1793 words / The Columbia Missourian

Susan Thompson knows firsthand how the families of people with disabilities benefit from community support. Thompson, a case manager for Boone County Family Resources, grew up with a mother who is blind.

“It kind of gives you a different vision in life — pardon the pun,” she said. “So I’ve had the heart to help these individuals be understood for most of my life.”

Thompson said she believes it’s important to advocate for people with disabilities — and, more important, to teach them how to advocate for themselves.

“That’s a lot of what we do,” she said of the agency’s mission. “Our goal is to help them become more independent.”

Full story available online or on request. 

Assistance helps attorney live independently

351 words / The Columbia Missourian 

Max Lewis is both a client and a member of the Boone County Family Resources Board of Directors. The 45-year-old lawyer survived a diving accident on June 12, 1986, but a spinal cord injury paralyzed him from the chest down.

For seven years, Lewis has maintained his family law practice. He provides his services pro bono because he must remain below 85 percent of the federal poverty level to keep his eligibility for Medicaid.

But Lewis is unable to get in or out of bed by himself. He can’t dress himself. He can’t go the bathroom without help. He can’t eat on his own or pour a glass of water.

Full story available online or on request. 

Boone County Family Resources gives teenager sense of freedom

476 words / The Columbia Missourian 

Isaac Pasley had been driving with a learner’s permit for two years, but his mom was still uncertain about him taking the wheel on his own.

“He was sure,” Karen Pasley said. “But I just wanted some way to know if he was ready to do this on his own.”

Because Isaac Pasley has Asperger’s syndrome, concentrating on more than one thing at a time is difficult. Driving is a continuous act of multitasking, including watching traffic, maintaining speed, checking the rearview mirror and operating turn signals.

Boone County Family Resources paid to bring the driving specialist to Columbia. Isaac Pasley was assessed for his short-term memory, vision, body awareness and other skills, his mother said.

The verdict: Isaac Pasley was close. And with two weeks of exercises the specialist recommended, he was ready to drive on his own, and his mom was ready to let him.

Full story available online or on request. 

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