Stephanie’s Path Toward Independence & Self-Reliance

To learn about Stephanie Hourani’s journey is inspiring.

Upon meeting her, you can’t help but be impressed with all she has pursued, accomplished, and the life she is building for herself (and those who know her / already know her would agree). To quote Muhammad Ali, “It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.”

Stephanie, too, has forged ahead from one quest to the next, building the affirmations of her abilities and embracing the opportunities brought forth. Stephanie has been in the AF Community Habilitation program for over 20 years. Through her hard work in the program, Stephanie moved out of her parents’ home and into her own apartment in 2018. She takes responsibility for her apartment and herself, and she manages her own banking, all while enjoying time with friends.

Stephanie attended THINK AHEAD, the Abilities First affiliated program at Dutchess Community College, graduating in 2020 with all A’s! She shared that it taught her public speaking, making friends and growing her confidence. Stephanie had also begun working with the Abilities First Employment Program where she participated in the Abilities First Supportive Employment Program at Home Depot with the support of her job coach Terry, who watched her and assisted her in the process.

She became motivated with a paycheck, learned a lot, enjoyed being around people, and learned to be an advocate for herself. With her exceptional work ethic and commitment, Stephanie has been recognized with a Customer Service Award and Associates Awards from Home Depot. Her peers and supervisors couldn’t say enough nice things about Stephanie. Stephanie has done so well on her own that she has developed beyond the support she needs from the Abilities First Employment program. Home Depot has hired Stephanie as a part-time employee, something she is very proud of.

Stephanie has set her sights down the road. She began taking computer classes at DCC with her goal being an associate degree. She loves living with friends, having a job, and receiving a paycheck. Stephanie would like to encourage and inspire her peers to feel confident, have a good attitude, speak calmly, always be sure to look nice, smile, and make a good first impression. When you follow these steps, “things will begin to happen”.

Congratulations, Stephanie. We are so proud of you and you are an inspiration to many.