Earl came from a family who never overcame the cycle of poverty. Born in 1940, he lived with his mother and worked on their farm his entire life until she passed away.
Given the era in which he was born and the family's economic difficulties, Earl was not afforded the opportunity to receive appropriate services.
When Earl became an adult he was diagnosed with dependent personality syndrome, which is characterized by a long-standing need for a person to be taken care of and a fear of being abandoned or separated from important individuals in his or her life.
Dependent personality syndrome causes individuals to have great difficulty making everyday decisions without an excessive amount of advice and reassurance from others.
After his mother's passing in 1994, Earl moved to Topeka to live with his brother Ernie. He also became more involved in the lives of his niece and her husband, Steve and Dena Anson. In 2010, Ernie, Earl's only immediate surviving family member, passed away. Dena became Earl's guardian and introduced him to the services at SLI. Earl then moved into a home that offered supports and a family environment.
SLI assists Earl in adjusting to life outside of an immediate family member's home, gain independence, confidence and build a sense of self-worth.
"It was very helpful that SLI would embrace new things and have Earl see new things," said Dena.
Before Earl became involved with SLI, the high point of his day was when the Meals on Wheels volunteer would deliver Earl and Ernie's lunch. Today, Earl is now on the other side of the lunchtime delivery service and is proud to be a volunteer for Meals on Wheels.
When Dena became Earl's guardian, she didn't know that he had never been properly evaluated. It was very heartbreaking for Dena when Earl was, because if Earl didn't know something he would make people think he did to fit in.
Earl has been a SLI client for the past seven years. SLI has encouraged Earl to engage in his interests, volunteer, socialize, learn new things and make new friends, which according to Earl is what he likes best about SLI.
Earl never had his own room until he came to SLI. He takes pride in making sure his room is clean and everything is organized. Earl is interested in working with his hands and particularly enjoys being involved in repairing most anything mechanical. He is also a fan of the Weather Channel and likes to discuss the latest forecast.
"Earl likes to be involved in community events and SLI has been really good with getting him involved," said Dena.
The Anson family welcomed Earl into their family with open arms. Earl has had an impact on the whole family, especially Dena's 12 year-old grandson. They even found out, at a family function, that Earl is a top notch pool player.
Dena is grateful for the services at SLI, because Earl has seen and done things that he has never had the chance to do before.
"SLI believes that all people have abilities, strengths and inherent value and worth to offer. One of the main goals of service is to build upon those abilities and strengths and promote peoples' value and sense of self worth," says Lisa Jackson, president/CEO.