With Angie’s Support, the Sky is the Limit
Angie Shultz has a calling: helping those in need. Early in her career, Angie worked with youth at risk. Later, she became a counselor with her county’s Mental Health & Developmental Disabilities Services agency, where she worked for 14 years, assisting countless individuals on their mental health journeys.
Angie didn’t stop there—she wanted to put her years of training to use to help someone on a deeper, more personal level. When she heard about the Host Home program, she knew it was for her. In 2013, Angie became a Mentor with REM Iowa. Soon after, Angie was matched with Billy. The first time the two met, they immediately clicked. From the very start, “we could be open with each other,” she said.
Opening Up to the World
Since living with Angie, Billy has made tremendous strides toward increasing his independence. When he first entered the Host Home program, Billy struggled with confidence in communicating, and could shut down when people didn’t understand what he was saying. But after living with Angie for a time, as they formed a bond of caring and mutual trust, Billy started to become more confident in his ability to talk to others. He learned not to be frustrated with himself if others didn’t immediately understand him. As he started to believe in himself, Billy opened up to the world.
Eventually, with his confidence increasing all the time, Billy expressed interest in getting a job in the community. Angie encouraged him to think big and helped him find a job coach. When he scored an interview with the local movie theater, Billy was nervous, but Angie supported him throughout the process, reminding him that he had the skills, strengths and confidence to do anything he wanted. A week later, beaming with pride, Billy told Angie he got the job.
Completing these goals seemed to spark a fire in Billy, making him want to achieve greater independence. He expressed a desire to become his own guardian, and with the support of Angie and his family, Billy represented himself in front of the judge and was granted guardianship. Most recently, Billy worked with Angie to start the process of getting his driver’s license. He studied and practiced taking the written test with Angie, and she waited anxiously as Billy went to the Department of Transportation to take his test. He passed and received his permit, bringing him one step closer to receiving his license. At this point, it’s clear to Angie that the sky is the limit for Billy.
A Perfect Match
After a couple of years, Angie decided she would like to welcome another individual into her home, and in 2015, Angie and Billy met Andrea. Angie opened her doors to Andrea and it became immediately apparent that all three were a perfect match. When Andrea first came to Angie, she was dealing with severe anxiety that prevented her from taking the city bus, therefore hindering her independence, and undermined her ability to build trusting relationships. With encouragement from Angie, Andrea gained confidence to build new friendships and ride the bus on her own, and the strength to express her dissatisfaction with her job. Angie helped her take the proper steps to end her employment and find a new job. Andrea now works for Think Safe, a medical supplier company, and she will happily tell you about all the products they produce—and how much she enjoys working there.
During the time when Andrea did not have a job, money was tight. Angie helped show Andrea how to calculate her grocery expenses to stay on budget. Now when they go the store, Andrea brings along her calculator to add up the cost as she shops. When REM Iowa staff visit Angie’s home, Andrea will gladly tell them how much she enjoys her life in the home. She says the three of them are “like a big, weird family.” While Andrea is proud of all she has accomplished with Angie, her favorite thing about her Mentor might be all the time Angie takes to help her with her passion, anime. Andrea loves anime. She could talk for hours about all the different characters and their back stories. She loves making movies and going to conferences to meet up with other people who share her passion. Angie spends hours helping Andrea design and make very elaborate costumes for anime conventions. Because of Andrea’s budget, they have to get creative, using household items and to achieve their vision. The end result is always spectacular.
When talking with Angie about being a Mentor, the common theme is instilling confidence. No matter what, she is there to support Billy and Andrea in reaching their goals and pursuing their passions. “They already possessed the ability to accomplish their dreams,” said Angie. “I just helped them gain the confidence to believe for themselves.”