Our programs at Access Services believe fully in allowing the individuals we serve to lead the way on their goal plans. Our In-Home Supports (IHS) and Lifesharing programs continue to exemplify this with those we serve. They came alongside one of our individuals, Tim*, and helped him to realize his goals for independence and community involvement.
Our IHS program worked with Tim for two years prior to the pandemic helping him to get connected to community activities and also assisted him with learning to be more independent with financial management, academic skills, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle with cooking and exercise. Tim loves people. Tim enjoys meeting people and conversing, going out to interact in the community and participating in the Special Olympics. The pandemic made all this difficult and frustrating.
At the height of the pandemic, Tim was living with his mother. After watching others move on into independence, Tim really wanted this for himself. His mother wanted this for him as well. IHS saw that things needed to move quickly, and they reached out to Lifesharing to see if there were any providers that Tim could be placed with for a respite (short-term) placement until they could develop a long-term plan.
Reasonably enough, many providers were not taking new placements this past year due to the risk of Covid-19 to themselves, their families or their other Lifesharing placements. Working swiftly, Lifesharing produced a list of a few potential providers that may be willing to open their homes. IHS called until they found a family that was willing to take Tim as a respite placement.
The match was perfect for Tim. His Lifesharing family was from a similar cultural background to Tim’s family. They were a large family that was regularly active in the community. Respite turned into long-term placement and Tim was able to acclimate to independence while being a respected member of his Lifesharing family. His mother was incredibly happy for him to make this transition. She felt comfortable and confident in the services and support that he got with his Lifesharing provider and her family.
IHS was able to provide virtual support while Tim made the transition to a different county and had to get re-connected with support in his new area. Now, Tim shares photos regularly of all the things that he is doing and places he is going. His Lifesharing family helped connect him with a program at Villanova. He is currently going to Villanova University’s United Scholars program, a two-year residential certificate program offered through Villanova’s College of Professional Studies. The program merges the following four elements: academic knowledge, social and psychological development, independent living skills, and career and vocational skills.
Tim had the desire and ability to grow but needed the opportunities. Tim is living the life he hoped for now. Our Lifesharing program provides a unique opportunity for individuals to leave home and find an independent life while remaining connected to their biological family. Without the collaboration between our programs both internally and externally in the community, needs can go unmet for the individuals we serve. Many stories like Tim’s story are possible because of our ID/A service lines’ willingness to work together and connect people with what they need to unlock their potential.