Danville man develops independence, finds success with help from KyADAPT

Published 10:07 am Monday, December 12, 2016

You might see him working away on the campus of Centre College or walking to his own apartment after a long day of work.

For Paul Bruce, 37, being able to maintain a steady job and a place of his own are big accomplishments.

Bruce graduated from the Kentucky School for the Deaf in 1999 and spent some time in Texas, where he was attending a school to learn how to live independently. Later, when that “didn’t stick,” as his sister Robin Hendrix said, he came back to Danville.

It was then that their mom, Pat, started KyADAPT, with a group of other parents of adults who are deaf and have other disabilities.

KyADAPT, short for Assisting Deaf Adults to Participate Totally, was founded as a way of helping deaf or hard of hearing adults who have additional disabilities as they strive to live independently. Bruce is one of four residential clients.

There are 15 non residential clients, as well.

“I’m happy and proud of my mother,” he said. “My parents have helped me so much.”

His mom continues serving as the treasurer of the board. His dad, Steve, helps with the website development. Their support has meant a great deal to Bruce.

“I’m thankful for my parents,” he said. “I love my parents.”

His sister, too, plays a big role in his success. She is one of Bruce’s “living coaches” with KyADAPT. She visits each week to check on him, ensure that he is taking his medicine, make sure he is keeping his apartment clean, give him a weekly allowance and help take care of his cat, AJ.

“She has taught me how to clean,” he said of Hendrix’s weekly visits.

The two could be at odds with each other as kids, as many siblings are, but he said they were “good to each other” now and he appreciates her help.

Bruce is a proud pet owner. His cat has been a big source of responsibility for him, too, Hendrix said.

“She’s a smart cat,” Bruce said. He got AJ from the pound about seven years ago. “She understands sign language.”

KyADAPT also provides other living coaches for Bruce, such as a life coach that takes him to Walmart once a week and another to take him to the grocery store.

The program also provides classes for clients to learn skills such as cooking and money management.

Bruce said he is learning more and more about money management, something he says he’s struggled with. Presently, he’s saving his money to buy a PlayStation 4.

“It costs $279. I’m still saving,” he said.

Bruce takes pride in his work, too. He washes dishes at Centre College, where he’s been for nine years. He’s looking forward to personally celebrating 10 years at the college.

“I like working,” Bruce said. In fact, the downside to the upcoming Christmas holiday is that he won’t be working for a few weeks, which he said he will miss.

His work has garnered praise from his bosses, said KyADAPT director Dahlia Haas, who shared that Bruce’s supervisor, Anna Hamilton, recently told her that Bruce is “amazing.” In another instance, this time a video on KyADAPT’s page on the BlueGrassGives.org website, Hamilton’s boss, Mike Nagorka talks about his willingness to come in on days of inclement weather to work, when the rest of the college is shut down, calling him an “absolute pleasure” to work with.

Statements like that make Bruce proud.

“I like that they say good things. It inspires me,” he said.

All KyADAPT clients are encouraged to participate in volunteer activities, and Bruce is no different, working to help decorate Jacobs Hall Museum for Christmas, helping with the KyADAPT Fun Walk, and donating money to the Heart of Kentucky United Way.

Bruce said he tries to help his parents, too, by mowing the yard and helping them around their house.

For Bruce, who has been living on his own in Danville for about seven years, it’s been a big learning process.

“(KyADAPT) has helped me so much. I don’t have to depend on my parents anymore,” Bruce said. “I’ve improved so much.”

Follow Kendra Peek on Twitter, @knpeek.

SO YOU KNOW:

To learn more about KyADAPT, visit, kyadapt.org or find the 501c3 nonprofit on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kyadapt. To see the video from Mike Nagorka or to donate, visit bit.ly/2hkCbDR.