Members Take Control Behind the Camera

By all accounts, twins Geneva and Geneil had a challenging transition into their new day program at Envision’s Westtown Center last summer. But that began to change after they started attending yoga classes facilitated by Program Coordinator David Pufundt

“It was clear to me that they were establishing their respective places among the members at Westtown, and they liked to push boundaries,” David recalled. “Over the course of a few weeks, they increased their participation in class, and even smiled once or twice.”

Westtown’s closure during Chicago’s pandemic lockdown proved to be no setback for Geneva and Geneil. Once Westtown re-opened, their positive rapport with David grew to the point that they continued exercising with the yoga class while also helping to produce class content behind the camera as part of the EU Media Cub.

The twins quickly became comfortable in front of and behind the camera and became proficient in videography by shooting fitness classes for virtual programming. With encouragement from David and Jimmy Sanchez, the staff liaison who leads the Multimedia Club, Geneva and Geneil decide what exercises they want to teach and what angles look best when filming.

Today, they are more confident, outgoing, cheerful, and they can advocate for themselves more effectively. They have a creative outlet, a sense of purpose, and accomplishment, helping to create videos for their fellow members. But perhaps their greatest accomplishment is forming and sustaining positive interpersonal relationships.

These improvements have transferred into other areas of their lives, outside the media room. “This has been the biggest payoff, in my opinion – seeing how their relationships and attitudes have improved, and how that has bettered their day-to-day life at Westtown,” explained Hannah Lowe, director of Westtown Center.