Hattie Maye Payne’s Story

Growing up with an intellectual disability and various mental health issues, Hattie was removed from an unsafe and abusive home environment at age 5. After living in the foster care system for 10 years, and a group home that eventually closed, Hattie chose to live at VOACC in 2002.

When Hattie first came to VOACC, she was placed in one of our Virginia group homes where she received a warm bed, support with transportation and daily living, and opportunities to participate in community outings. Hattie was also paired with a case manager to help her work towards her goal of independent living.

Through VOACC, Hattie also received support moving into a home of her own where she has been living happily since 2016. And thanks to people like you who make these services possible, she continues to receive support with things like budgeting, healthy meal planning and transportation to church and work.

“I go shopping, cook my own meals and stay up late. I am proud of myself,” says Hattie.

Partnering with ServiceSource, a nonprofit organization that supports people with disabilities by offering a variety of employment options, Hattie currently works at the FBI in Quantico as a custodian, and was recently honored as the ServiceSource 2022 Employee of the Year.

“I was excited and shocked by the award. I was chosen for the year because of how hard I have been working with my team and my group. I’m doing a good job cleaning and keeping things neat. I am very happy with myself.”

And others are proud of Hattie as well. Those that work with and support her at her job express what a happy and positive person she is. FBI students, who are onsite for several months at a time, continually comment how respectful she is and how well she does her job.

When Hattie isn’t working, she likes to go on walks or do arts & crafts creating jewelry. She also enjoys talking with her boyfriend, who lives in Fredericksburg, VA twice a day.

“Hattie is an inspiration to me. She is such a great person, who works hard, loves people, and lives life right! Each time I see Hattie, it reminds me of why I do what I do for a living. I am proud to know her, and am in awe of her progress over the past 11 years I have known her. She isn’t afraid of change, and is a great role model to anyone who wants to chase their dreams.” – Carrie Cortez, Executive Program Director Virginia I/DD Services

Hattie turns 50 next year and when asked how much longer she’d like to work, she said until she turns 70. Then she’d like to retire to Fredericksburg to be with her boyfriend.

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