Faith is a diminutive bundle of energy, born during the great depression of the 1930’s. Faith endured abuse by her family resulting in being institutionalized in The Walter E. Fernald School in Waltham around 1940. Faith remained at Fernald for 16 years until she was sent to the Taunton State Hospital where she was kept for another 23 years.
During her time in the institutions, Faith received no education but was subjected to electric shock treatments. In the late 1970’s, Faith was part of the first waves of deinstitutionalization and was sent to a halfway house in Hyannis. During her 39 years in the institutions, Faith permanently lost all contact with her family.
In 1981, Faith was referred to The Arc of Cape Cod’s Independent Living Program, one of the first programs in Massachusetts designed to assist people with developmental disabilities to learn the skills necessary to live on their own as a real part of their communities.
Once Faith got involved with The Arc, her life started to change. Faith learned the skills she needed to shop, cook and maintain an apartment of her own with support from program staff. She enrolled in evening adult education classes in Barnstable and the Cape Cod Literacy Council. Faith learned to read and write which was an important goal she set for herself.
Faith also wanted to work and earn a living. Faith got a job working at the Acme Laundry in Hyannis in 1988 and worked there for more than 20 years prior to her retirement. In her years at Acme, she could be found nearly every morning having breakfast at the Sunnyside Restaurant.
Faith has developed many lasting friendships with people in Hyannis and other program members at The Arc who have collectively become Faith’s family. Faith currently lives with her best friend and a support staff in a lovely three bedroom apartment.
In the coming weeks, we will be introducing more of the individuals we help to support along with videos of Faith and others sharing their experiences.