Congratulations to Ann Ernst

January 2024

Hoodstock XX guests were moved by Ann Ernst’s story and cheered when she was awarded the 2023 Samuel A. Tucker Memorial Can Do Award.  Ann has received services from Unified for many years and recently moved into one of Unified’s single-occupancy apartments.  She is a cancer survivor and has over come major health challenges.  She embodies Unified’s mission to support people with disabilities in achieving independence, productivity, and the quality of life they seek.

Ann has participated in Unified’s Day Program in Hagerstown and lived in two of  Unified’s community living group homes.  She has held several community and program based jobs and developed many skills and community connections.  Her favorite activities are decorating for the holidays, shopping, and watching movies – the scarier the better.

She dealt with her illness by sticking to her treatment plan and being an active participate in her daily medical care.  As she regained her health, Ann became interested in living on her own.  When an apartment opened in Cumberland, she toured the facility, met with the staff, and talked with her care team before making the decision to move.  Ann is one of the first individuals to live on their own in a Unified apartment.

Ann has also chosen to leave the traditional, facility-based program and now participates in Community Development Services, where she has greater influence over her choices and how she spends her time.  As a result, Ann has become more independent and is enjoying the experiences that come with having more freedom and control over one’s life.