Wayfinders Graduate on Path to Independence

As Deborah Hopson pulls into the driveway of her Fresno home, her daughter Porcha stands by the front door, eagerly awaiting to help bring in the groceries.

Deborah describes her adopted daughter as having a “servants heart,” always concerned with the people in the world around her.

Deborah Hopson, Porcha Hopson, Michelle Hopson

Porcha, 30, has a mild intellectual disability and her mother wanted to be sure that as she entered adulthood, she would be able to be on her own and have independence. But they needed help.

“We searched high and low and — nothing. Everything came up short of what she needed,” Deborah said. “When we found Wayfinders it took us a year to get all the requirements together.”

Wayfinders is a two-year independent living certificate program at Fresno State for young adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. Students at Wayfinders increase their independence by living in student apartments, participating in work experience internships, taking classes at Fresno State and engaging with the community.

Deborah and Porcha stayed up late completing the Wayfinders application. Porcha remembers writing her own personal statement.

“It was so worth it,” Deborah said.

Porcha completed the two-year Wayfinders program in spring 2019. While in the program, she was able to do something she never thought would be in her future — walk across the Fresno State campus as a student, just the same as her sister, a Fresno State graduate, did a few years prior. …

Read full article here.


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