Joan’s Story

Joan began at Laradon in 1984 after graduating high school from the Colorado School For The Deaf and Blind in Colorado Springs. Joan is deaf with a history of epilepsy and a mild intellectual disability. Her program manager, Calena Camacho, describes her as a sponge “always soaking in new information.” When asked about her feelings towards Laradon, Joan says, “I like Laradon a lot, I like coming here. If it wasn’t for Laradon I’d probably just stay at home with my family all day.” At 55, Joan is in Laradon’s Work Teams program where she goes out into the community with a group every day to work at local stores. She receives at least minimum wage for her work, like everyone else. She’s a hard worker who enjoys doing things correctly. Calena mentions that Joan is very particular about how things should be done, and that she is always the last to finish at their work site. “That’s just because she’s a perfectionist,” Calena explains, “It doesn’t bother the group at all to wait for her because we know she’s doing good job.”   ​ Joan was at Laradon early enough to meet Laradon’s founders, the Calabrese family, and remembers Elizabeth Calabrese vividly. “I remember her being so nice and fun all the time,” Joan says,” She would walk around, check on the programs, and make sure we had everything we needed. She would even sign (ASL) with me sometimes.” 



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