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Matt's Story

How ITG has empowered Matt and boosted his confidence

Matt came to the United States as an 8-month-old and was adopted by a loving family in Kern County. Having been diagnosed with autism and some intellectual disabilities at the age of three, Matt received special needs services throughout grade school and high school, and his local church provided him with opportunities for spiritual growth as he grew up into adulthood.

Like many young people, Matt took the leap and began living on his own when he turned 21. With support from his parents and supported living services, Matt began to increase in independence, yet he was still experiencing some difficulties with independent living and social skills. In 2020, Matt started attending GRACE.

Matt slowly eased into the program through Zoom, and today, Matt attends in person at the GRACE space, and particularly looks forward to the Pound Fit exercises, art, crafts, music, and ballroom dance. “Matt enjoys cookie decoration and food prep – he especially loves eating the finished products!” Matt’s mother My Le explains. Ursula Jaso, GRACE Mentor, was pleased to see Matt join GRACE in person and has noticed positive changes in him. “Since Matt has been coming to GRACE he’s beginning to open up and reveal to us more of his personality. When he first started, he would say ‘No, all done.’ Now, he asks if he has done a good job, and when he is told ‘Yes Matt, good job!’ his eyes light up with such joy. He is thoroughly engaged in the activities in which he participates and we love to tell him ‘Good job, Matt!’” Matt looks forward to attending GRACE and participating in the variety of activities offered while enjoying the social aspect of being around familiar faces. “We have noticed that Matt’s anxiety level and occasional outbursts have declined since he began attending GRACE,” his parents confirmed. “This program is an answer to prayer for Matt-Matt.” Matt’s parents believe others will benefit from the loving services provided by Independence Through GRACE. There are many adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in our community who, like Matt, desire to increase their independence. Our community partners, volunteers, and donors make it possible to reach more people in more impactful ways. We know together we can:

  • Empower our participants to pursue independence

  • Engage these adults through strong connections

  • Encourage community in a safe and loving environment

With the help of our partners, we’ll keep the good going until adults with diverse disabilities live healthier and enriched lives and are nurtured by caring and supportive communities that eliminate barriers. Will you join us? Blessings & GRACE, The Independence Through GRACE Family


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