“Live life to the fullest” is what 25 year old Carl Sala tells himself every day. Carl is a student at the Southwest Center for Higher Independence (SCHI) at Methodist Mission Home (MMH) and feels SCHI is the beginning of a new life for him.
SCHI helps young adults with disabilities learn to overcome barriers through a transitional life skills and vocational education.
“This place makes you challenge yourself and that’s a good thing. Because of all the support here on campus, the challenges are a lot easier to handle,” Carl said.
Originally from Houston, Texas, Carl came to SCHI in October of 2010 and has had a wonderful journey leading him to where he is today. Having completed most of his required courses, Carl enjoys playing video games during his spare time until it’s time for work.
Carl feels his new job at Randolph Air Force Base will allow him to overcome a past obstacle of successfully maintaining a job.
“I work as a stocker at Randolph Air Force Base on the night shift. I like it because the people I work with are supportive and understanding. They are patient with me,” he said. “In high school, I couldn’t keep a job because my employers were not understanding of my disabilities, but at SCHI and Randolph Air Force Base they are.”
Born hard of hearing and later diagnosed with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Carl went to an elementary school for the deaf where he was one of the best readers at his school. “When I was in elementary I was one of the best at my school and ever since then, it has come naturally to me and I enjoy it very much when I read.”
Carl had many friends and made decent grades in school but still had to deal with bullies from time to time because of his disabilities. Even though Carl has never been one to let that get him down, he appreciates how nice and accepting everyone is at MMH.
“I made the decision to come to SCHI on my own,” Carl said. “It helped that I had so much support from my family. I wanted to be able to take care of myself, make my own money and not have to depend on my parents to do things for me.”
His classes and experiences at SCHI have made a world of difference in his life. SCHI Director Dennis Tucker thinks Carl has a lot of potential and has come a long way since coming to SCHI. “He has a great future in store for himself,” Dennis said.
Carl believes the money management class has helped him the most. “I would spend a lot before I came here and I’d blow my money in one day, but now I know how to save for things I really need.”
He is most proud of the fact that he has stopped smoking and eating fast food. “Both of those changes have helped me with my money management and my body. I could not have done it without the help of my friends at SCHI.”
In the future, Carl hopes to become an auto mechanic (his dream job), but for now he is focused on helping his family after he leaves SCHI.
“I graduate from SCHI in April and I’m looking forward to it. I plan to stay here in San Antonio for a couple of years and then move back to Houston to help take care of my family, just like they did for me when I was staying with them. I will be able to contribute to everything when I go back and I’m looking forward to that.”