More than Meets the Eye
If you ask John Krall how he got so good at basketball, mini golf and bowling, he’ll gladly share his secret. “The trick,” he says with a smile, “is listening.”
A client at the Stein Campus, John has coped with dual disabilities since birth—cerebral palsy and blindness. Upbeat and engaging, he’s an obvious people person. “When we play a game that requires me to hit a target, the staff tells me where to aim,” he explains. “It’s a group effort.”
John, 54, came to St. Ann Center a year ago after 30 years of working with a vocational training program. “I enjoy the wide range of people here—from seniors to the little ones,” he says, adding he loves the sound of children having fun. He takes his role as their adult friend seriously. “When the kids join us for activities, they learn not to be afraid,” he says. “They come to understand that people who use wheelchairs are basically not that different from them.”
Challenging limitations has become a way of life for John. He participates in as many St. Ann Center programs as possible, from group games to drawing and sewing. An avid music fan, he plays hand bells and sings in the center’s choir. And if you sit in on Trivia Day, you’ll find him acing most every music-related question.
“The staff helps me when I need it, and they respect what I’m able to do on my own. Here, I’m a human being—not a disability. I feel like I can conquer just about anything.”– John Krall
Not one to stay in one place for long, John especially appreciates activities that involve exercise. “Having cerebral palsy, I need to keep moving as much as I can,” he says. Sessions with a St. Ann Center massage therapist and regular whirlpool baths help keep his tight muscles relaxed. John also finds spiritual support is readily available. “I go to the daily prayer service,” he says. “It’s nice to have a chance to be quiet and meditate in the middle of a busy morning.”
Known around St. Ann Center for his positive attitude, John is a one-man welcoming committee for new clients. “I just want to be as friendly to them as people have been to me,” he says.
Read all the stories of our joyful intergenerational community in the July-September Issue of Seasons of Life.