Jennifer “Jenny” Dunlop has been an active member of The Arc Madison Cortland since she was 20-years-old.
In her senior year of high school, she began experiencing personal hardships and struggling with depression and suicidal ideations. After receiving counseling, she found continued success by moving into an Individualized Residential Alternative (IRA) home in Canastota.
In the home, Jenny has worked closely with The Arc Madison Cortland staff to enhance her verbal communication, effectively express her feelings, and utilize her bedroom as a place where she can go to feel a sense of calm so she can approach an issue more productively.
In addition to heightening her coping mechanisms, Jenny has found immense success through writing. Since the tender age of eight, she has used writing as an outlet to express and process her emotions. Now, she writes not only for herself, but also to help others. As a published writer, she has contributed several inspiration stories to UNIQUE Magazine for ARISE. Most recently, she wrote a four-page self-help piece.
“I call it a self-help magazine about tough choices and situations,” explains Jenny. “The current issue is about suicide prevention, which ties in with some things that I’ve been through; it is all about how to get help when you’re feeling hopeless and how scary it is to feel that way.”
She plans to release a magazine every couple of months in an effort to gain comments and feedback from readers. Her intended audience are young adults and teens who may be struggling.
Additionally, Jenny is active in the community. She participates in community hab, where she enjoys educational trips, shopping, bowling, picnicking, crafting, and more. She volunteers through community prevocational and Pathways, including helping to deliver for Meals on Wheels. She sings soprano in the local Sunshine Choir, where she has received solo and duet opportunities. She also has an interest in art, and views her writing as pieces of artwork.
“My dream is to work as a counselor and a writer and tie them together to help other people, so they can receive the services they need and see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and they aren’t alone,” says Jenny. “I hope that my writing will be a beacon of light; I made it through and they can too.”