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Lindsey Colavito is on the Move in Her Latest Achievement Toward Independence

Lindsey Colavito is no stranger to struggle.

She’s faced a number of adversities since a life-changing surgery when she was 13 years old to remove a brain tumor. Time and time again, she has turned those struggles into victories.

The surgery left her with no short-term memory. Her dream of academic success was not as easy as it once was. Still, she worked to earn her first degree in early childhood education at Stanly Community College (SCC), and went on to earn a second associate degree in business at SCC.

“I was at the top of my class before my surgery. When I went back to school, I wasn’t. It was tough. I felt like everyone was looking at me because of the scar on my head. I went through rehabilitation, speech therapy and physical therapy. I couldn’t have done it without the support of friends, family, Monarch staff and doctors,” Colavito said.

The last time we spoke with Colavito, she was enjoying her time in the pool at the Stanly County YMCA in Albemarle. She was teaching beginner swimming lessons to three- and four-year-olds who attend the Y’s day care program, as well as second graders from the local school system.

Now at 32, her latest success is moving into her own place after living in one of Monarch’s group homes for more than 10 years. Like most young people, independent living was always a goal for Colavito. She’s still settling in to Monarch's supported independent living in Clayton, but her duplex already feels like home.

“I love it here! It makes me feel like an adult,” she said. “My old dance teacher came by the other day and brought me a lamp. It’s coming together, it really is. My aunts are planning on having a house warming party for me once I settle in a little more.”

Her consistent progress in one of Monarch’s group homes was a sign to her parents as well that it was time for her to make the change. She can take her medication on her own and she takes pride in cleaning and cooking for herself as well. The move also put her closer to her family who live in Clayton.

“My brother died this past year. Life is too short. I think we all need each other to be closer,” said Colavito. “I had been wanting to be closer to them for a while, so this was a prayer answered.”

Like she has done in the past, Colavito is marching forward applying for volunteer opportunities and employment near her new home.

“I applied for a volunteer position at a local elementary school where I can read to the children, help with activities and assist the teachers,” she said. With her degree in early childhood education, it’s a position that Colavito hopes will lead to employment in the school system.

She’s also looking forward to the opening of a new YMCA being built in the area so she can continue her fitness and swim classes. Once she lands a steady job near her new home, her next goal is getting her driver’s license.

“I’m taking things one step at a time. Once I adjust into independent living and make sure I have a steady job, then I’ll look at possibly driving.”

 

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