When I was born, I didn’t have the nerve that connects the eyes and the ears to the brain. Nerves like that don’t grow back after birth. The doctors at a prestigious university hospital said I would never be able to take care of myself and should be placed in an institution. But God had a different plan for my life. At 9 months old, my parents took me back to the hospital, and the doctors said the nerve was there. The doctors could not explain how this was possible. I was blind and deaf, but God healed me.

Today, I am 38 years old, and I live in my own apartment by myself. My disability is that I am mentally delayed and have some visual impairment. I realized I was different from most people at a young age, and I was mad about that, but then one day, I found myself at camp Barnabas surrounded by other people like me. At that camp, we were told that it’s okay for us to be different. After hearing that, I realized that I am different because God has a special purpose for me. I am living out my purpose by encouraging others and teaching at my dream job as a teacher assistant at an in-home daycare. I am happy, single (even though I had a boyfriend in the past), independent, and have many friends. I also have an amazing online community thanks to Pathways, where I get to see my friends and learn more about myself. I have learned that I can do anything as long as I put my mind and don’t give up.  My goal with Pathways is to learn to become even more independent by learning money management and what I should shop for when I am out shopping because if it were up to me, I would buy a lot of DVDs. I am thankful for this program that I can do online from my apartment’s safety and comfort. – Charlotte, Pathways student

“Charlotte has done some amazing things in her life. She has represented Missouri’s state twice in the National Miss Amazing Pageant, once in LA and once in Chicago. She was also voted Camper of the Week at Camp Barnabas. We are so proud of all her and all her accomplishments!” -Deb, Charlotte’s mom