In March, a gentleman started working with Pine Tree Society’s Home Support Services team in Auburn.
“He was fairly independent but he struggled with cooking,” recalled Shelley Zielinski, Director of Adult Support Services. “Learning to cook was one of his goals, but his sister wasn’t sure how to approach and help him.”
Zielinski and her team found a way.
“We put it in the perspective of him teaching us. That was a way for us to get in there and make it happen,” she said. “We said ‘Let’s try and make tacos. You know how to do it. Show us how you like to cook hamburger. Show us the way you cut up lettuce.”
By August, not only was he making tacos, but he had also expanded his recipes to include Shepard’s Pie, lasagna and homemade soup.
“This is huge growth for him,” said Zielinski. “It was a major goal of his to be more independent so he’s not eating the same things every week and can have more variety in his life.”
When his home support staff noticed he had a Yahtzee game in his closet, he couldn’t remember who had given it to him and the box had never been opened.
“We asked if he wanted to open the box and learn how to play,” said Zielinski. “He tried it and is really good at it. It’s opened up a whole new interest and he’s expanded to another dice game which he enjoys.”
The next goal is for him to invite a friend over for something to eat and to play a game together. Cooking for a friend and sharing a game of Yahtzee will be another step towards a bigger goal he has.
Zielinski explained, “His ultimate goal is to move back where he grew up and develop friendships in that community. Learning to cook, play a game and invite someone over shows him that he can reach that larger goal.”