Ali Smith, An Amazing Woman - Success Story

Alison Smith

An Amazing Woman!

Alison Smith is a graduate of Shelton High School.  At 41 years old, she has had an amazing life and continues to build her skills to be the best she can be.
From 2007-2019 Alison (Ali for short) has worked at The Benchmark Senior Living Center as a Community Assistant.  She helps the staff with miscellaneous tasks including leading exercises for the individuals, helping in the store, and cleaning common areas in the center.  Ali provided weekly cleaning services to elderly and disabled residents in the Congregate Building, cleaned the halls, lobbies and common areas as needed.  She Performed special cleaning services for Village Residents when requested and she ensured that residents were pleased with the quality of her work.  Normally, you can find Ali at her job 4 days a week.  She loved working there and interacting with the residents and helping and feeling independent.
It isn’t all work for Ali.  She got involved with Special Olympics in 1995 by helping her mom sell T-shirts in the 1995 world games.  She chose being a participant in The Special Olympics because she was interested in staying fit and being healthy.  She also really likes the idea of competing.  Ali participates in track and field, bowling, and figure skating.  Ali participated in the national games in 2006 and 2010, in addition to being in the Hall of Fame for Special Olympics.
Ali wants others to feel good about The Special Olympics by encouraging and inspiring them to be involved.  She is a Special Olympics Global Messenger which gives her the opportunity to speak in front of organization and companies and share her success.
Ali is very proud to have won the 40 under 40 award in The Fairfield County Business Journal.  Every year the Fairfield County Business Journal recognizes 40 people under the age of 40 who are dedicated to personal and professional development as well as community involvement.  According to the Business Journal “these exceptional people serve as role models for their peers and are motivated to succeed as leaders in their distinct field.” Ali was the 1st person with intellectual disabilities to receive that prestigious award.
When I asked Ali what kind of person, she would like to be in five years, her response was to keep her job and continue being independent, in addition to finding a place to live.  Things that make her smile are hanging out with friends and participating in zoom activities. 
Ali receives services at the Kennedy center, she enjoys engaging in the activities they offer.  Ali takes art classes and participates in various social activities; both make her happy.  Her family, friends and art teacher inspire her. Ali is looking forward to seeing more of her friends become independent.  Her message to a large group of people would be for everyone to keep safe, be healthy and optimistic.  These tips can help people overcome their fears. 
I asked Ali if she had things that she wanted to do or if she had a “Bucket List”? She said her Bucket list is to go to Disney World and Virginia.  Ali likes Rock ‘n’ Roll music like INSYNC, The Backstreet Boys and Hootie and the blowfish.  She enjoys writing stories and would like to become a journalist.
Life has been a bit different since COVID 19.  Ali is home, she feels safe with her family, however work motivates and inspires her.  Ali is looking forward to going back to work when it is safe.  I asked her what she likes most about herself, she said, secretly, her good sense of humor.
Moving forward, Ali wants to continue to learn ways to be as independent as possible.  Ali isn’t fearful of anything!  Her advice is to not be afraid of anything and be patient.
Interview and article written by Paige Librandi, Self Advocate Coordinator