DANCING WITH EVERYONE AT STAPLES MILL
When you walk into the Adult Day Support program at SOAR@Staples Mill, you’ll likely find 25-year-old Shakur Spells, known as Dre, dancing. And not just moving a little bit, but dancing really well. Laura Yackel, a SOAR365 case manager Mill confirms, “He knows how to dance! Dre is always cheering everyone up, either through dancing or just with his upbeat, energetic personality.”
Dre is continuously looking for ways to make others feel good, during the day with his fellow clients and at home with his family. “Dre is always going to find a way to cheer me up, especially when he thinks I’m having a bad day,” says his mother, Shanna. Diagnosed with autism and intellectual disabilities, Dre has never let these obstacles come in his way, but rather he faces them day by day, all while lighting up the room with his smile, and of course, his dance moves.
Since arriving at SOAR365 in May 2019, Dre has become more verbal, and his mother is beyond pleased with his achievements. She says Dre is speaking now more than ever, and she is able to make more sense of his words. “On the flip side, this means he is much better at making his opinion known!” explains Shanna. She laughs and continues: “Dre’s grandmother used to buy him things when he would say the word for it, but now that has had to stop since he is talking all the time!”
Dre lives at home with his family and is the oldest of five children. He loves coming to SOAR365 every day and Shanna explains, “If Dre is sick for a day and can’t go to “school” (aka SOAR365), his brothers tell him that school is closed for the day and no one can go, so he doesn’t get too disappointed.”
Shanna is experienced in working in the professional support field and has witnessed a range of treatments and care throughout her career. “I know the kinds of places where I wouldn’t want to send Dre and I didn’t want him in a place where I would worry all day.” She also states, “I took care of all my clients like they were Dre, and I want the same for Dre – to be supported by someone who truly cares. At SOAR365, I know the support is excellent and the staff is amazing – that puts my mind right at ease.”
Putting clients’ and families’ minds at ease is one of SOAR365’s main goals … and dancing is important, too!