|As soon as she laid eyes on Via Christi Village in Pittsburg, Penny Parris knew it was the home she had dreamed about.
"When I saw the concept of private rooms and courts, I knew this is where I wanted to live," she explained. "You have your freedom - you're not held to a room. It's like being in a neighborhood."
Born with cerebral palsy, Penny learned early to adapt to her unique circumstances.
"My family let me be as normal as I could be," she smiles. "I had to adapt to and live with my disease, which has taught me acceptance. Who wants to be sad about things?"
Penny's remarkable cheerfulness comes through in all her interactions with other residents and staff at the village, where she moved in July of 2003.
"All I had to do was wait for second floor to open," she grins. "Everything fell into place, just like I was being blessed by the Lord. This is the nearest to being at home you could be."
Penny keeps her days full. She is frequently found in the main lobby visiting with other residents and staff members. She volunteers for every community event in which the village is involved - ringing the bell for the Salvation Army, participating in Relay for Life and the Walk to End Alzheimer's, riding the bus in parades, and partnering with school children in the Shaping Lives program. She also enjoys the beautiful view from her second floor room.
"My mother picked this room," she says. "She said, ‘you'll always have something to look at.'"
Penny also enjoys the person-respected approach to care and the design innovations at Via Christi Village.
"I love it!" she exclaims. "The food is great, the people are great, and it is my dream to have places like this all over the country."