To the editor:
Sometimes dreams really do come true. When your family includes a person with Down syndrome, you may frequently feel as if you're part of a Disney movie. These young people (our Molly is 28) often love movies, watch them a great deal, and can quote dialogue and lyrics to their favorite films.
They may even have a hard time distinguishing between fantasy and reality. "I'm a princess," Molly will say. "And I'm going to marry my prince, Eric (her boyfriend of 11 years)." It's hard to know what to say in response to that dream.
Fortunately, Molly's foster mom and I, and a whole village of other folks have helped Molly realize another of her long-standing dreams. Molly is the youngest of our three daughters and she adores her big sisters, Tina and Maya. She wants to do everything they do.
When Molly was young, I asked her what kind of work she'd like to do one day.
"Work at Culver's like Tina!" she said.
I hoped this might be possible. Tina worked at Culver's in Stillwater. The owners had a history of hiring the developmentally disabled.
Still, when it came time for Molly to leave high school and enter the world of work, her teachers didn't believe she had the necessary skills to be successful at Culver's. She ended up at one sheltered workshop and then another. Nobody at either place seemed to think Molly was capable of this kind of work either, at least without one-on-one job coaching, which they said they couldn't provide.
Enter Natalie Rankins, Molly's foster mom.
"I'll go with her," Natalie said. "I want Molly to be the best she can be and I believe she can be successful at Culver's!"
Natalie scheduled an interview at Culver's in Woodbury, where they live. Molly aced the interview! She and Natalie now work the lunch shift. Molly couldn't be happier. As her mother, I couldn't be happier either. It turns out dreams really can come true!
Pat Ferguson Hanson