Alysun is a woman of many talents. In 2013 she created her own line of essential oils that her father, a doctor, sells at his practice. She says they are fine oils from Italy, and all the different things they can do fascinate her, “I like their healing properties, and I spend a lot of time researching what each oil does and the best ways to use it.” A wealth of knowledge about the history of essential oils and the many ways people have used them, she’s a thoughtful researcher and is always happy to talk to people about what she’s learning. She also makes jewelry, is proficient in many computer programs, loves being active, and stays fit by going to the gym a few times a week. She has a rich and varied life, in spite of having a developmental disability that affects her ability to learn, and Greater Opportunities gives her the support she needs to meet her goals and maintain her independence.

Originally from Canada, in 2011 she moved to the United States and lived with her father until she could get on her feet. For the first few years after she moved, she had a series of unfulfilling jobs, and she realized she needed help regaining her independence. Because she has a developmental disability, she wanted a place to live on her own, but still be able to receive support and help when she needed. With help from the San Andreas Regional Center, she found Greater Opportunities, which offered a variety of programs that could meet her needs. She moved in to the Cortez Apartments, where she has her own apartment and is able to receive additional living support customized to her needs.

At Cortez, Alysun takes classes in subjects such as cooking, emotional management, and social skills development, and she likes the chance to meet new people and learn new skills. Alysun is always finding a way to help others at Cortez, and is a special member of the community. Everyone says that she is one of the first to offer assistance if another client needs help or if a staff member can use a helping hand. She’s exceedingly conscientious and in-tune, always able to sense if someone is feeling down or stressed out.

She likes working with her two one-on-one staff members: Aunna and Anna. Anna is a great confidant for Alysun, and Aunna is helping Alysun find a new job that is closer to Cortez. Likewise, Aunna says she instantly clicked with Alysun when they met, and loves working with her. Aunna says she values Alysun’s support and help tremendously and she has been a great friend. Between working with her one-on-one staff and taking evening classes with other Independent Living Services Clients, Alysun says she’s able to get the help she needs while being able to maintain her independence. She likes being able to contribute to the community at the Cortez apartments while being able to come and go as she pleases. She treasures her freedom, and is glad that Cortez is there as a stepping-stone on the road to being fully independent.

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