GOOD NEWS: Local graduate highlights independent living

Published: May. 26, 2022 at 9:49 PM CDT|Updated: May. 26, 2022 at 10:25 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Like many students this time of year, Vanessa Boehm is graduating from Amarillo College and is excited about the future.

Heading into the field of writing medical code, she wants to use her accomplishments to help others.

“I just like helping people because I know that everyone can make a difference,” Boehm said. “Sometimes they just need encouragement you know, so a little advice any way I could just give them advice or help them in any ways. Basically what I’m trying to do. My goal is to become certified and then once I become certified, I would love to be in the field.”

This promising future is in part due to the love and help from a local organization. Many disabled adults struggle with a way to live independently, but this Amarillo foundation is changing that for some local adults.

“This is the Texas Panhandle Independent Futures Foundation,” said Ken Kelley, founder of TPIFF. “My wife and I started this about 10 years ago to provide housing for young adults with physical disabilities. Now there’s funding through the state, through Medicaid for their personal care attendants. But there’s no housing available for them.”

TPIFF provides the assisted living housing that allows disabled adults to be on their own living independently.

“We have two duplexes here that we own because of the generosity of Amarillo and especially Baptist Community Services that helped us out a lot,” Kelley said. “So there’s two young ladies in this duplex, there’s five young men over there in that area.”

There are 1,500 adults with disabilities in the area waiting for opportunities like housing and around the clock care.

The foundation fervently seeks your support. is the website there’s a donate now button.

“That’s one way and we’re always lookin for help,” Kelley said. “We always need caretakers. So if you need a job, you know somebody that needs a job and you have a passion for the disabled, come help us.”

Instead of nursing home care or living entire lives at home with aging parents, amazing independent stories are waiting to be written.

“So the foundation has given me security because the office space I wouldn’t be sure it could actually afford to go to school and focus on school,” Boehm said.

TPIFF Resident John Kirby Jr. said the support has changed his life.

“I didn’t know independence,” Kirby Jr. said. “I didn’t know going out to the grocery store. The support is phenomenal that I have here. It’s almost like a family. They just want to see me do well.”

Boehm is thankful for the foundation.

“I think it’s great because it’s allowing other people, people with individuals with disabilities to get out in the community to live life like everyone else would and not be discouraged just because they do have some limitations,” Boehm said.

Kelley said he is proud of Boehm to be starting her next chapter in her life.

“Vanessa we’re very proud of, for about five years at the perseverance to graduate college and she’s ready for a medical coding job,” Kelley said.

The housing opportunity is like a launchpad to exciting and independent life and careers.

Now, that’s some good news.

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