Christina Holds the Key

It was a literal key that unlocked Christina Hodupp’s future.

A 25-year-old Damar Behavior Management services client, Christina has overcome a lot in her life, but when she got her own key to her apartment for the first time, things really took off. Filled with a new confidence, she decided it was time to take charge of her life.

“I didn’t like how people were making decisions for me,” she said.

Christina has built steadily on that realization. She now lives alone in a trailer with support from Input Residential, she’s excelling in her work at Rose’s Department Store and she’s earning straight A’s in classes that are preparing her to be a nursing assistant. Asked what compelled her to start going to school, Christina said summed up the attitude she seems have about everything these days: “I decided I might as well stop talking about it and do it.”

Cody smiling That determination has allowed Christina to make great strides, said Lindsay Shepherd, a Damar behavior clinician. Having worked with Christina for about four years, Lindsay said an important part of this process has been helping Christina learn to manage her emotions. Christina agrees, saying she now can recognize when she’s on the verge of a problem and engage coping skills. This self-awareness has helped her reduce undesirable behaviors and added to her confidence.

“She’s just really blossomed,” Lindsay said. “She’s come a long way.”

Margaret Burrell agrees. Part of the Input Residential team that supports Christina, Margaret said she has seen a lot of growth in Christina just in the three months she’s been working with her. “I have a seen a change in her. More determination,” Margaret said. “When she sets her mind to do something, it gets done.”

When she’s not studying or working, Christina enjoys listening to music and doing crafts. She keeps her home tidy and likes cooking her own meals. Margaret said she has been impressed by Christina’s ambition and by how hard she works at everything. Having supported people with limitations and disabilities for more than 30 years, Margaret said Christina is doing better than anyone she’s ever worked with. “She’s going to make it,” she added.

Sitting nearby while Lindsay and Margaret talk about her progress, Christina smiles and explains that she has her ups and downs and that sometimes it’s hard to stay on top of everything, but she keeps a positive outlook. And, most of all, she stays focused on her goal of “working at a hospital and helping patients who really need me the most.”

It seems unlikely anyone or anything could get in the way of that goal. With her own key in hand, Christina is unlocking all sorts of possibilities.