Lamont’s Journey: Embracing New Beginnings with Mainstay WEPA
January 5, 2024
North Bessemer, a town nestled just beyond Pittsburgh, PA, exudes tons of scenic charm. Lamont Pinkston resides there in a comfortable home along a quiet street, supported by RHD Mainstay Western PA (WEPA). This program offers supervised community-based residency to adults with developmental disabilities through a spectrum of established and innovative rehabilitation techniques. WEPA Direct Service Professions (DSPs) provide round-the-clock support to ensure that Lamont enjoys some of his favorite activities – spending time with his family, watching wrestling, ordering chicken and coleslaw from local restaurants, and his #1 favorite pastime – listening to music. He has an extensive collection of around 500 CDs, spanning several different genres. While giving a house tour, Lamont displayed his collection featuring everyone from Miley Cyrus, to Queen, to Alan Jackson, to Celine Dion. He really loves Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson. “Janet’s my girl!” he exclaims.
Lamont became a Mainstay WEPA participant in May of 2023, transitioning from a government facility after a three-decade long stay. He faced challenges upon entering the program and grappled with familiarizing himself with his new environment. The Mainstay team remained dedicated to helping Lamont feel more at ease by supporting him during medication appointments and fire drill evacuations, among other unfamiliar tasks. Realizing Lamont may need more comprehensive care, the team organized collaborative meetings with state and county offices that provide support to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to better understand his needs.
Despite continual encouragement, Lamont persistently resisted leaving his home and was reluctant when asked to go outside to enjoy the patio. However, a breakthrough occurred during the week of September 15th, when Lamont showed willingness to integrate into the community for the first time. His attendance at the RHD Western PA region’s end-of-summer picnic marked a turning point. He arrived with an infectious smile, actively engaging with peers and staff. Lamont also ventured out to purchase CDs at a local store, indicating a newfound sense of comfort. What was even more amazing was that his behavioral barriers ceased during this time. Eugene Mollett, one of Lamont’s dedicated DSPs, emphasized the pivotal role of “positive reinforcement” in aiding Lamont’s progress. He shared, “Eventually, when he’s ready, he does it.”
Lamont continues to embrace new experiences with increasing comfort. A recent highlight was his joyful outing to Dave and Buster’s, where he immersed himself in Dance, Dance Revolution—the perfect interactive game for someone deeply passionate about music. Thanks to Mainstay WEPA, Lamont is truly living his best life!
If you’re interested in discovering more about Mainstay WEPA and contributing to their ongoing efforts in supporting individuals like Lamont, visit their website at https://www.rhd.org/program/mainstay-western-pa/.