Leigh: Read to Relate

Leigh has a full plate these days – going to work, volunteering in her community and hanging out with family and friends. She has been employed for 12 years and was recently promoted to Team Lead, supervising six team members. Leigh is a huge St. Louis Cardinals and Blues fan and loves watching movies. She also loves to relax with a needlepoint project, a great way to wind down after a busy day.

Leigh remembers a time when she didn’t feel as confident as she does today. She often didn’t know how to express her emotions and had a hard time dealing with feelings of frustration. Leigh’s mom learned about us through a friend, and after a “little convincing,” Leigh tried out her first event. By the time she went to her third activity, she knew she had found the right place. That was in 2009, and now Leigh is leading her own activities.

Leigh has always been a big reader and last year approached our staff about starting a Book Club. A launch party was held last October to include any participants that had an interest in being a part of the Book Club. Leigh selected Never Caught by Erica Armstrong Dunbar as the group’s first read.

There have been about eight “regulars” attending the monthly Book Club meetings. Attendees enjoy discussing the books while they share a meal.  Members take turns picking a book for each month and lead the discussion for their book of choice. Leaders have shown their creativity, incorporating games and other fun activities into the book discussion. Leigh likes that everyone is respectful and open-minded in Book Club and that they have all made contributions to its success. 

“Pathways is more than just fun activities and hanging out,” says Leigh. Our programming around reducing stress, self-awareness and relationships has enhanced Leigh’s skills. She has incorporated these skills into her job at St. Louis ARC and at her volunteer position at Sign of the Arrow. She had also learned the importance of working one-on-one with staff to find ways to decompress, handle conflict and how to turn a bad day into a great one.