Helping America's Most Vulnerable

Mindy Bisson, Social Butterfly and DLSS client

Mindy Bisson is a twenty year old woman from Biddedford, Maine who was born with Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome. Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome delays growth and development, causes intellectual disabilities and seizures. Although Mindy faces challenges with communication it doesn't stop her from being a social butterfly. She greets everyone with a "Hi!" and enjoys giving hugs and high fives.

Mindy joined the DLSS (Daily Living Support Services) Program in late November 2014, but has already made herself known to many Volunteers of America’s staff members and clients. She has been visiting the Beach Street Program in Saco twice weekly, bringing a smile to everyone she meets.

When Mindy pulls into the parking lot with her staff person, Charlotte, many of the clients leave what they are doing to greet her in the kitchen. She always brings her breakfast, her tablet, and a ball and spends time interacting with the staff and clients in the kitchen, living room, or in the staff office.

Beach Street has given Mindy a safe environment to explore and connect with others in a welcoming manner; the staff and clients both encourage Mindy to express herself and practice social interaction while passing a ball around or talking about her upcoming events for the day.

This has had a huge impact on the clients at Beach Street, because it has challenged them to communicate with an individual who responds back to them non-verbally.  It has helped them to get “outside” of their own head and away from issues that are troubling them that day to work on developing a friendship with Mindy. 

Mindy spent her birthday at Beach Street this year and brought donuts for everyone to share.  We are happy to report that all residents from Beach Street attended her party, which does not always happen.  Mindy has made a huge and lasting impact on everyone in the program and has become a staple of our mornings.