Here at PCs for People, we are always humbled by the stories we hear from our clientele when our services have had a positive impact on their lives. We love hearing the vast array of answers when we ask even simple questions like how they heard about our program or whether this is their first experience with the Internet.
For one particularly exceptional client, PCs for People was recommended to her by her caseworker. Brenda Clary, who is living with an inflammatory autoimmune condition called rheumatoid arthritis and gets around using a motorized wheelchair, takes part in a government program called Community Alternatives for Disabled Individuals. This program allows her to receive a high level of care required to manage her disability while retaining the ability to be independent. Nevertheless, while Brenda's case worker was at her apartment doing a general assessment of her situation, Brenda confessed how lonely and confined she had been feeling.
"I had become somewhat of a shut-in," Brenda said. She has had days where the pain was so intense, she was unable to get out of bed or do little things that we take for granted, like hold a book in her hands. That's when her caseworker suggested she look into getting a computer from PCs for People in order to feel more connected. "I just started crying," Brenda said, giggling sheepishly. "I was like, you're kidding!" Social Security Disability being her main source of income, she had just assumed she would not be able to afford a computer or Internet services. So last December, Brenda called Metro Mobility and paid us a visit. She registered for our program and left that day with a desktop computer and an Internet modem!
At 52, Brenda calls herself a "newbie," this being her first computer and first experience using the Internet. "It just opened up a whole new world for me," Brenda recalled. She has little interest in Facebook and most types of social media, but she now utilizes e-mail, Google, and various other online resources. She's able to contact her doctor with questions, stay current on developments concerning rheumatoid arthritis, request audiobooks from the library, and even order vitamins and groceries right to her door! The following February, Brenda returned and received a laptop for the days when the inflammation is too painful to allow her to get out of bed and move around the apartment. One of her favorite things to do is visit YouTube, where she found calming music and meditation channels to keep a positive mindset and make it through the flair-ups. "My depression is lifted, my heart is hopeful, and my curious mind is satisfied," she said warmly.
Despite her condition, Brenda radiates positive energy. When asked if she had any advice for anyone seeking our services, she said it is important not to feel intimidated by the process, even if you have a disability or are as new to the computer and Internet world as she was. "I see it as an opportunity. If there was a miracle tomorrow and I was completely healed, I would still be out there informing people about your program! You have changed my world, and I'm just really grateful!"