It’s About Living Your Best Life

Nicole in the library at her day program.
Nicole living her best life in the library of her day program.

Life is all about setting goals than working hard to achieve them. Nicole Rechel, a shining star in our Thrive community, has done just that.

For years, Nicole longed to live in her own place where she could do what she wanted when she wanted. As a resident of a local group home, she had some hard work ahead of her to achieve this goal. Working with staff, she learned to master the skills of “caring for myself, cleaning, cooking for myself, managing my finances, coordinating my medical needs and advocating for myself,” according to Nicole.

In March of 2013, Nicole achieved that goal and moved into her own apartment in MetroWest. For most, going from living in a group residence to independent living would have been a significant transition. Nicole was so well-prepared, it took her about 24 hours

to adjust. “The first day I was shy and nervous to meet new people. By the second day I opened up and started making new friends,” she boasted.

Now, a close friend calls her “Nicole the roadrunner,” because she is always running somewhere. At home, Nicole shares common living space with other roommates, where they all pitch in with cooking and cleaning. “Nicole has mastered so many skills that others often need help doing. Not only does she manage her own financial, medical, and personal needs, she has also mastered the skill of time management, by juggling work, attending a day program, and planning an active social life,” commented Nanette Goldstein, Director of Family and Individual Support at Thrive.

Weekdays include work and attending a day program, where, among other activities, she volunteers for Meals on Wheels and the local food pantry. Nights and weekends are devoted to eating out and traveling to local farms, the library, museums, plays, and tourist destinations such as Rockport, MA or the coast of Maine. Nicole’s favorite fall activity is cheering on the Coast Guard Academy football team at home games with her close friend and travel partner Jack.

Nicole has learned much by living on her own, but the skill she is most proud of is her ability to advocate for herself in a variety of situations. “I love being able to speak up for myself when I want something. It is a very important thing to do,” Nicole shared. Congratulations to Nicole for setting a goal many years ago, working hard to achieve it, and going on to live her best life!