This was a special provision made for me to pass the rifle range.

On January 27, 2012, I was sent to the firing range in preparation for a 6-month assignment. I was somehow hoping that I would not have to complete this task based on my assignment, but no such luck. Instead, I was schedule and was informed that the weather was going to be extremely cold and I should dress accordingly. We would not be provided lunch so bring my lunch and get some hand warmers from Dick’s Sporting Goods. Because I have anxiety about firearms and the such my stomach was not in its best mood. I reported to the motor pool only to find out I was the only female going to the range. The instructor gave us an overview of what to expect and when he was done he asked if anyone had any questions. I raised my hand and asked about the bathroom. He provided the directions for the women’s bathroom and then asked me if I had ay additional questions. I replied, “no” and he asked if I was sure. He stated that the look on my face during his entire briefing made him nervous.  So, I went to the bathroom and of course my stomach was still unpleased, so I coached myself  saying, “you can do this.” When I returned to join the group, everyone was already at their assigned firing site and they were waiting on me. To keep from holding the group up,  some of the guys had loaded my magazines for the practice session.  The instructor, Sgt Jackson stayed close by to ensure that I was comfortable using the firearm. We fired two practice rounds and it was identified that my target was never hit. So one of the other instructors suggested to Sgt Jackson that the smiley face was needed.  My target was taken down and a smiley face was posted instead. I was instructed by the other instructor to hit the red nose on the smiley face. After the 3rd practice round was completed, it was discovered that I did not hit the smiley face either. The other instructor came to me and asked if I had a problem with the smiley face. I replied, “no.” So the instructor called for a cease fire from the other participants and I was asked to shoot at my smiley face with the two bullets that were provided. I was asked to take my time and fire at the target. After shooting, I went with Sgt Jackson to look at my target. I hit the smiley face in the left eye and to the left side of his nose.  Sgt Jackson stated,  “now he has a pimple.” Based on the shots, that site needed to be moved 2 to the right and up 7. Everyone was provided an opportunity to finish their practice shots and then we took a break for lunch. I asked about the qualification and Sgt Jackson indicate that we had to get 25 points to qualify but you can only hit each of the ten targets five times.  At the end of the day, I finished with 33 points to qualify. It was recommended that I return to practice and get comfortable using the firearm.

New Therap users face the same anxieties. Especially those who are not computer savy. When it came to training the staff to use Therap it was a challenge. We faced instances when there was no documentation at all because the staff was afraid to touch the computer. To reduce the anxiety, we offered classes to the staff to teach them the basics. Some were grateful and signed up more than once. Others were still reluctant, but eventually grew accustomed. It was shared with them that this method of documentation would make their work alot easier and paper documentation would be a thing of the past. Since the implementation of Therap in 2009, the staff’s ability to communicate how they have helped enhance the lives of the individuals they support has been monumental. It is a worderful thing to just be able to log in on the internet and get a snapshot of what is going on in the life of an individual receiving support. Its even greater to see them putting their own documentation in on how their day went.  What’s even greater is the outside entities (such as DDS, guardians, attorneys, family and etc) that have a need to know having the ability to access their assigned person or loved ones info at their leisure. Now they can spend more time visiting their loved ones rather than trying to read up on them and visit them at the same time.  Therap has been a great attribute and investment in many ways. With Therap you’ll  always hit your target and at St. John’s it’s “Advancing Community Support and Opportunties for Individuals Living with Disabilities.”