TMG Wisconsin Member Stories
Through Wisconsin’s IRIS program, with the support of a local TMG by Magellan Health consultant, a person in IRIS has full employer and budget authority to self-direct up to approximately 30 home- and community-based services, such as supportive home care, transportation, supportive employment, respite and adaptive aids.
These are stories from people who show how self-direction works for them every day so they have valued roles, belong and are part of the fabric of their communities.
30-year-old Stacy has never met an obstacle she couldn’t overcome. As a child growing up with cerebral palsy, Stacy learned quickly that she could achieve anything with the right attitude and supports.
“Despite having severe physical limitations, I was brought up believing that I should/could do everything that everyone else does,” said Stacy. “My parents did a great job of treating me no differently.”
It’s her determined spirit and support from her family that has led her to seek independence in all aspects of life. After graduating high school, Stacy left home to study Journalism and Advertising at University of Wisconsin – Whitewater.
“Going away to college was a huge milestone in my life,” said Stacy. “Beyond getting a degree, it proved to myself and others that with the right supports I could live independently.”
After college, Stacy was determined to continue to live independently but struggled to find the right place in her hometown. After researching different options, Stacy found a home in Oshkosh with supports from Cerebral Palsy of Mideast Wisconsin. “February marks five years I’ve been living independently!” said Stacy.
Throughout that time, Stacy worked closely with her TMG IRIS Consultant. “Kathi has helped me reach my goals in many, many ways,” commented Stacy. “From helping me find resources when I first moved to Oshkosh, to being part of my employment team and supporting me through that whole process. She has been amazing!”
Stacy now leads a busy professional life as a small business owner and an independent contractor with InControl Wisconsin, an organization that plays a key role in advancing self-directed supports in Wisconsin. “I love working for InControl Wisconsin because I feel like I’m helping people,” said Stacy. “When you need as much help from others as I do, you often feel like you can’t give back enough. Working for a disability advocacy organization makes me feel like I’m helping others—it gives me a purpose in life!”
Her work at InControl Wisconsin has inspired Stacy to become more involved in disability advocacy efforts and the community at large.
For Stacy, support from TMG and the IRIS program has made pursuing her passions and her journey towards independence much more possible. “IRIS has helped me achieve two of my biggest goals in life—living independently and gaining employment,” said Stacy. “I had huge hurdles to overcome and there were many bumps in the road, but with the support of TMG, IRIS and others, I was able to achieve my goals!”