Last summer 21 year old Robin M. enrolled in Via’s Travel Training program to learn how to get from her home in Broomfield to a day program in Longmont. She had already been using the buses around Broomfield but this was the first time she would be embarking on an out-of-town journey alone. Robin took up the challenge and it only took three sessions before she was comfortable riding without her travel trainer, Brian.
In December Brian got another call from Robin; this time she wanted to learn how to get to the Longmont Humane Society where she was about to begin volunteering. She would need to add only one more bus to her current travel plans and Brian was confident that she’d pick it up right away.
To say Robin loves animals might be an understatement. With three dogs at home (a Border collie mix, a Chihuahua mix, and Blue Heeler mix), the decision to volunteer at a humane society was easy. She only had one stipulation when choosing a shelter; “There are closer [shelters] to my house but I only wanted to work in a no-kill shelter,” she said. Her favorite part about working with the dogs at the shelter, aside from spoiling them with treats, is teaching them new commands. “I love how they listen and I love teaching them sign language,” Robin remarked.
In the future Robin hopes to learn the bus routes to Boulder so she can meet up with friends to bike around town and hang out by Boulder Creek. Brian knows she’ll pick up the new routes right away and hopes to work with her again soon.
For more information about travel training, contact Susan Unger, Via’s travel training coordinator, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 303-447-2848 ext. 1048.
Celebrating a creative, happy, mobile life
“… an amazing young woman, advocate and writer.”
That’s how Via’s Director of Communications described Margaret Lavigne, who passed away last month at the age of 44. Ms. Lavigne was all that and more, and we are saddened to learn of her passing.
Margaret “Muffi” Lavigne Plum grew up in Somers, MA. She learned she had muscular dystrophy when she was 7 years old. Hers is a lifetime legacy of exceeding expectations and of advocacy for people with disabilities. All this, while addressing significant mobility and health challenges in her own life.
In high school, Muffi was a member of the National Honor Society, sang in chorus, managed the field hockey and softball teams and was selected to the Hugh O’Brien Leadership Foundation.
As an undergraduate student at the University of Connecticut at Storrs, she was a member of AHEAD (Association in Higher Education and Disability), and worked during the summer for the President’s Committee for Employment of People with Disabilities.
After acquiring her bachelor’s degree, Ms. Lavigne moved to Maryland and worked for the President’s Committee for Employment of People with Disabilities in Washington, D.C. She then worked for the National Office of United Cerebral Palsy.
Muffi was also a gifted creative artist. While her greatest hobby and passion was photography, she also enjoyed painting.
Her rich, full life included love and marriage. As subjects of the video documentary “Good Night Margaret”
(produced in 2014 by the New York Times), Margaret and her husband, Chris Plum acknowledged that theirs was an unlikely romance: they met, fell in love and married at a long-term acute care hospital.
Margaret “Muffi” Lavigne Plum died peacefully at that long-term acute care hospital on February 29th.
Here at Via, we are filled with appreciation and gratitude for this “amazing young woman, advocate and writer.” Many people living with disabilities today have better, happier and more mobile lives, thanks to the tireless efforts of Muffi.
March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month
In 1987 President Ronald Reagan proclaimed March “Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.” The deinstitutionalization movement of the seventies and early eighties had laid the foundation for significant social change, and the presidential proclamation called upon Americans to provide the “encouragement and opportunities” necessary for people with developmental disabilities to reach their potential. New opportunities have been created through the efforts of those with developmental disabilities and their family members, along with professionals and officials at all levels of government. Working together, they have brought about significant changes in the public perception of young people and adults with developmental disabilities, opening new doors to independent and productive lives.
Whether they are young or old, people with a disability are capable of achieving anything! Via’s Travel Training program has served hundreds of people with developmental or intellectual disabilities, allowing them to hold jobs, seek educational and vocational opportunities and join in community life. See Via’s Travel Training Program