Discovering Daniel's Hidden Talent

posted Feb 6, 2017, 8:56 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Feb 6, 2017, 9:16 AM ]

IDaniel smiles at the camera.t is quite a compliment when someone says, “He brings a smile to your face every single day.”

Those were the first words that came when Anjie Hall was asked to describe Daniel Young, who receives services from Mosaic.  “He is a very happy person,” she added, “smiles all the time.”

Anjie and Daniel have become close friends over the last several years.  She treasures the relationship.

“I think he does more for me than I do for him.”

Daniel does smile a lot.  Spend a little time with him and you also find out he is exceptionally polite, pleasant and soft-spoken. Daniel didn’t come to Mosaic all smiles. People who knew him then said he looked down, not making eye contact, and rarely spoke. He came from a tough situation. Because of mental illness and tragedy, his parents had isolated the family from the community. Daniel, by then beyond high school, was receiving no services or support—there was nothing to fill his days.  Eventually the state became involved and removed Daniel and his five siblings from their parents.

But Daniel had to wait for placement in a residential service, so he lived with family friends.  (According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, nearly 350,000 people were on waiting lists for intellectual disability services in 2014, the last year in their data.) It was a few months before Daniel was able to come to Mosaic, but once he did, he quickly started to change. 

“It has been a drastic change,” Anjie said.  “He doesn’t have near the behavior issues that he had five years ago. He definitely smiles.  He’s happy.  He does say more words … (and) is very involved in the community and with church.”

But that’s just the beginning.  Daniel has developed many interests – riding his bike, painting, crafts, reading Bible stories, singing and dancing.

“Those are all things that he hadn’t been doing five years ago,” Anjie said. 

Painting is one area Daniel enjoys – and excels at. His talent was discovered at a Mosaic activity day a few years ago.  An art professor who was helping that day remembers it well.

“His work stood out. It was so effortless for him to paint and to work with colors,” said Soulaf Abas. 

Since that time, she has worked with Daniel as a volunteer, teaching him new methods and styles. Soulaf said she is inspired by his work. 

“It’s still inspiring to see how he thinks of colors,” she said. “To think about layering and what blends and goes together.  It comes naturally to him.”

Daniel has shown his art at the county fairgrounds and won a ribbon for his work.  He has also sold individual items. Mosaic is working to provide personalized services for each individual. It requires getting to know the person and letting them experience new things. Daniel was discovered to be a natural, talented artist. 

We know there are nearly 3,700 stories like his across Mosaic, each one following a road of discovery. That’s the joy of a life of possibilities. Thanks for sharing your talent, Daniel.

This post originally appeared on Mosaic's blog, www.mosaicpossible.org

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