mat'S AMAZING STORY...
This is an Amazing Story about Mat – celebrating a man whose zest for life is as infectious as his 100-watt smile!
Once again, we had to modify our approach to visit with Mat because of COVID-19. However, it was great to meet with him virtually back in late September from the comfort of his own room at Maxey Road Home - which is one of NACL's Staffed Residential Programs.
Angela F., Community Support Worker on Maxey’s staff team, was there to share in the conversation and assist with the technology on their end – and as we were getting settled online, we noticed Mat was already moving around his room to get his treasured movie and music collection ready to show us!
We introduced ourselves, and talked about how much we’re interested in all the cool things Mat has in his room! He shows us his school picture, and we get to hear about his family – how much he loves to hear from his father, and how much he looks forward to visits from his mother every week. Mat is like most young men – he likes to be on the go – and that means getting out at any opportunity (often with Angela!) for road trip adventures to find new places for picnic lunches, to check out local parks and other fun places like the mini-golf parks up in the Oceanside area…and of course, to go shopping, which usually means new music or DVD purchases! 😊
With Angela holding the laptop, Mat takes us on a virtual tour of his room. On the far wall is his large smart TV, and below it a very substantial shelf of CDs and DVDs – which, by the way, as a true ‘collector,” Mat can list and find every specific one he wants to show us! Then, we hear about some of his favourite music videos, including a few by the trendy girl group BLACKPINK!
We’ve already heard that Mat’s a big karaoke fan…and lucky for us, he picks up his mic without hesitation and serenades us with passionate, FLAWLESS versions of some of his favourite songs – including ones by Michael Jackson (“Black or White”) and Louis Armstrong (“What a Wonderful World”). Mat even has the facial expressions and gestures of each artist NAILED – and let there be no doubt he knows ALL the words by heart to every song he’s singing!
As he sang to us, he was truly FEELING it – his movements, laughter, and even tears at one point – music can do that to you if you’re really into it and are a sensitive person – and that was definitely the case with Mat.
Music completely lights up Mat’s whole being – and that joy is completely infectious. As you can probably tell by now, our visit wasn’t so much about having a conversation…but more so about him sharing his passions for what he loves best in and about life – and that in and of itself is an AMAZING STORY!
Mat lived in home share for several years before moving to Maxey Road Home just three years ago. Coming into a new environment and having housemates can be an adjustment for most people. Mat is clearly comfortable with setting boundaries, though – as he says, he’s established with his housemates that “You have to respect privacy.” And, to demonstrate to us just how much he values respect for privacy, he wheels himself to his bedroom door and opens it to show us a sign on the outside of it that says, “Please knock on the door.” That said, friendships have been forged, and Mat does enjoy hanging out and doing things with his housemates.
Mat has a certain feistiness about him that ensures we will never forget our visit. At one point during our video chat, we’re made to realize that we have clearly inundated the poor man with everyone talking at once, requesting that he sing another song – he calmly looks up at the screen and says rather directly, “Calm down.” 😊 However, he was more than pleased to immediately find another tune that would take him into that special place that opens up his heart and his voice with the rhythm – in turn, leaving us mesmerized and feeling that joy again along with him! Check out the attached video below and experience it for yourself!
We came away from our visit feeling happy, refreshed, and reminded of the perspective that we make sure we take the time to do the things we enjoy most in life!
One of NACL’s fundamental aspirations is for all the people we serve to live their best lives – and it’s pretty clear that Mat is doing just that. It’s a continual journey, full of exploration and adventure. He knows what he likes, and we get the feeling he knows that there is more for him to discover. One thing’s for certain, though. He’s found the very thing that unlocks exactly what makes him open up to the world – music. Who knows what else he will discover along the way, with music as his guide?
WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT staffed residential services?
Our Senior Program Manager would be pleased to speak with you about NACL's staffed residential programs! Click here for a description of the program itself - or click the button below to connect with our Senior Program Manager, Angela Trimble.