Sherry Bale
Sherry Bale, Communications Professional

Cassie’s Future Is Full of Possibilities

When Mosaic staff members are asked to describe 42-year-old Cassie Lobdell, words such as “amazing,” “loving,” “sweet” and “happy” come to their minds.

“Cassie is an absolute sweetheart, especially after overcoming so much sadness and adversity in her life,” said Mosaic Senior Community Relations Manager Vickie Harshbarger. “Cassie has an intellectual disability, and as a teenager, she began having seizures—some were so strong she would be bedridden the next day.

“When she came to Mosaic, she was very bitter and had many challenges to overcome,” added Vickie.

As time passed, Cassie then tragically lost her mother and brother in the same year, leaving her without any immediate family. She was understandably overwhelmed with sadness, exhibited by constant crying, loud outbursts and consistently wearing one of her mother’s necklaces. “She would show me something in her room that evoked a memory of her mother or brother,” Vickie added. “She would tell me they’re in heaven.”

After a while and still with pain in her heart, Cassie started dreaming for a place where she could again feel she belonged.

Nayelli Rodriguez had been on Mosaic’s staff for years and had grown close to Cassie; working at Mosaic at that time, her husband knew Cassie as well. When Nayelli was expecting a second child, she wanted a more flexible work schedule where she could continue to help those served by Mosaic to have meaningful lives. She knew Cassie wanted to live in a shared living home, known as Mosaic at Home, where the provider gives highly personalized supports around the specific needs and desires of each person while helping her or him to become part of the family and her or his community.

“I asked her Mosaic case manager if Cassie was a candidate for Mosaic at Home, and she replied ‘yes.’ While there’s always a thorough matching process between the individual served and the provider, I was able to tell Cassie about it,” said Nayelli. “She was so happy and excited, she started packing! Then I had to say, ‘no, wait, there’s a process we have to go through first!’”

While Cassie was waiting for the green light to move from a 24/7 Mosaic residential group home to Mosaic 24/7 shared living service, Vickie said Cassie couldn’t contain her excitement. “While I was at our Day Services—in which Cassie participates—she asked me to follow her to what was then Nayelli’s office at the time. She closed the door with all of us inside. Then, in her broken words, she said ‘I get to live with Nayelli and [her] babies!’”

The matching process began in July 2022—which included Cassie spending some weekends at the Rodriguez family house—and Cassie moved in November 2022, six weeks after Nayelli had her baby girl. 

“Before she arrived here,” added Nayelli, “my husband finished a full bedroom and bath for her downstairs, so she could have her own space. When she saw it, she was ecstatic! We told her she could decorate the bedroom any way she wanted.” Cassie’s decor includes little hearts on the walls, pictures of her mother, and she has artwork that reads “Love.”

Since moving in, Cassie has blissfully settled in her new home and is now an integral part of the family and the community. Her health has improved markedly (she’s lost 30 pounds!); she helps around the house; joins family vacations (when they visit Nayell’s mother in another state, she also has her own room there); and goes to Mosaic Day Services, where she’s learning new hobbies and going to restaurants with her friends.

“She’s become more independent. She sets her own alarm. She has a schedule of the steps to get ready in the morning and a calendar on which we add what she’s going to do each day,” Nayelli said. “Because of her support consistency, the entire time Cassie’s been here, I’ve never witnessed her having an outburst or becoming angry—and her number of seizures have dropped dramatically.

“I know she’s grateful to be with us, because she says ‘thank you’ for almost everything, something she really doesn’t have to say, because we love her,” Nayelli added.

Not only has Cassie found belonging in the Rodriguez family, that belonging has given her a newly found confidence to look at life as one full of many, many possibilities.

Recommended Stories

Mosaic Nurses Shine
Volunteers Create Relationships and Memories at Mosaic
Three Mosaic and Living Innovations DSPs Recognized with Prestigious 2024 ANCOR Award