Sherry Bale
Sherry Bale, Communications Professional

Brenda is Now Happy and Loved

Meeting Brenda Brown, 61, is a delight. Sitting between her Mosaic at Home shared living provider Carmen Robles and Mosaic staffer Aaron Pelz, her eyes sparkle, and you can easily see she’s happy where she is and with whom.

“Brenda is very sweet and always wants to help me,” said Carmen. “She’s very helpful around the house. One example is with the groceries. She places things in the cart for me and unloads them from the car when we get home.”

Brenda chimed in, “I also put them on the kitchen table and put them away for her.”

They immediately look at each other and laugh effortlessly. Brenda said she loves Carmen, and it’s apparent the feelings are deeply reciprocated.

Now living with Carmen and her husband Porfirio whom Brenda calls “Mom and Dad,” she said she’s happy and loves Carmen “because she’s a good lady and is really nice.” Both retired, Carmen and Porfirio have been Mosaic at Home providers for more than 14 years.

Both of Brenda’s parents are deceased, and she’s mostly lived in foster homes—about 13 of them—since she was 12 years old. 

When she became an adult, Brenda lived in a group home with another service provider. Somehow, it was determined she could live independently in an apartment, where she was for years. While a state case manager checked in on her periodically, Brenda needed more support. 

“She didn’t take care of herself medically and couldn’t organize her appointments on her own,” said Aaron. “Taking her medications and going to medical appointments fell by the wayside, and her health started to decline. She developed many gastrointestinal issues, high blood pressure and COPD. “The case manager came to issuing a call to intellectual and developmental disability (IDD) services, including to us, to search for a placement for Brenda.” 

“She should have never been left by herself there,” Carmen said.

Mosaic staff worked diligently to find the right, 24/7 residential service for Brenda’s specific needs and wants. She was eventually matched with Carmen and Porfirio. They also provide full-time, IDD support services in their home to another woman who is younger than Brenda.

“At first when Brenda moved in, she was very shy and very nervous,” according to Carmen. “She was scared. She acted as if someone were always pushing or rushing her. I think that comes from having a hard life. She told me she was bullied and beaten up many times, and she wasn’t being fed well in the group home—she said she was down to skin and bones. She also told me until she lived with us, she didn’t know what a homemade meal was or how to take a shower.”

“But just a month later,” recalled Aaron, “She really started to come out of her shell, which was great, because Brenda has a great smile, a great laugh, and she’s funny!”

Among the many things Carmen and Porfirio helped Brenda with was to take her to doctor appointments. She was a smoker for decades, and one of her greatest concerns was her trouble breathing and constant coughing. “The doctor said the COPD was a danger to her longevity,” said Aaron. “She then understood the major threat to her health, so she quit smoking—she quit cold turkey and hasn’t smoked since.”

With Carmen’s assistance, Brenda also secured a job doing “contract work” for the Arizona Training and Evaluation Center (AZTEC). “I work at a church to help … to feed the homeless. We pack boxes for them, and I get paid. I really like it.” It’s one of her favorite things to do, and she’s rightfully proud of her accomplishment.

“She does a really good job there,” said Aaron. “She is commended by her supervisor all the time.” 

Carmen added, “Roy (Brenda’s supervisor) always comes up to me to say she’s one of his best workers there. She’s always willing to stay later.”

Carmen said she loves Brenda very much and always tells her. “She’s also learned how to get ready for the day, keep her room clean, do her own laundry (and fold or hang it), microwave meals and help her cook homemade foods. She’s always asking, ‘Mom, do you want me to help you with the trash?,’ or she’s asking to help with something else.”

“I’m a good worker!” Brenda emphasized.

With her friends, Brenda said she likes to go to the movies and clothes shopping (“sometimes I go myself”) and go out to eat. Steak and chicken are her favorite foods. Having four siblings, she often visits two of her sisters at their homes and always looks forward to spending time with them. 

“Now being around Carmen and Porfirio with their adult children who live nearby, Brenda has that wonderful, helpful family atmosphere,” added Aaron. “She has loving people to speak with who answer her questions.”

Importantly, instead of being worried and anxious about most things, Mosaic, Carmen and Porfirio have embraced God’s call to serve by relentlessly pursuing opportunities that have empowered Brenda to make her own choices at home, in a job and within her community. Best of all, she always looks forward to what is coming next in her life.

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