It’s a steamy Sunday in July, and Chase is sitting at the front of a presentation hall in the Minneapolis Con-vention Center. Hundreds of teenagers are streaming in, laughing and chattering while they find seats. It’s the 2019 LCMS National Youth Gathering, and all the work Chase has been doing for the last six months has come to this. In a few short minutes, he’ll be sharing his story with a packed room of conference attendees. He’s never done anything like this before.
“I would not have had the confidence [to present] if I wouldn’t have come here to Bethesda,” he says. “Because if I didn’t speak in front of people at Bethesda, I don’t think I would have been able to do it today.”
Chase has a developmental disability and limited vision—but his biggest disability is his anxiety.
“He worries about what things are coming up,” says Tawnya Arueya, Area Director. “He would perseverate on those same issues and it would cause him to be really upset and really anxious.”
“Bethesda has helped Chase with his anxiety by being able to talk about what causes his anxieties and why does he get nervous about things, as well as going over goals and steps to improve how he handles situations,” says James Tierney, a Direct Support Professional (DSP) who’s known Chase for 10 years.
“With Bethesda, I’ve been able to manage anxiety and I’ve been able to cope with stuff better than I could have if I wouldn’t have been with them,” Chase says.
Chase has shown incredible growth at Bethesda, says James. But that’s not Chase’s only support—whenever he starts to feel scared or anxious, his faith gives him courage.