We can’t believe it’s been a year! We have had so much fun starting a CSL program at Opportunity Inc. We have had so many good things happen over the course of the year from gaining a clarity of expectations, to creating and recreating training for the CSL program, to thinking outside the box on how to find and retain staff. The staff who work in the field every day as well as the people we have met and have supported over the past year have been at the heart of our CSL program. It has been a challenge, but one that we are very passionate about as we move forward with continuing to make CSL better and better.
Opportunity Inc. continues to explore creating meaningful community connections, particularly within the CSL program. While doing work with Joe, we have realized the importance of sharing stories. Stories can come in many versions and people share stories differently. We have come to learn the importance of sharing stories, in any format, has been one of the most effective ways to continue learning about community connecting. People who come together, with diverse backgrounds and varied experiences, to share stories and talk about their life experience has significant impact in continued learning. This format has been a launch pad for Opportunity Inc. to have conversations about community connecting, the meaning of community and how to help people explore citizenship. It our goal to continue providing a venue for sharing stories as a learning tool for staff and leadership within the CSL program.
Susan at Media Makers has been a part of our CSL journey since the beginning. Susan has travelled along with us, capturing intimate moments and sharing in our successes. Opportunity Inc. is so thankful to have worked with Susan on this CSL project and could not be more pleased with the lasting memories she has documented for us.
We are about 10 months into the Community Supported Living project and have really enjoyed the journey so far. As often happens, much of what we anticipated would occur, hasn’t and things we never imagined as possibilities have happened. We have had successes and we have had challenges. One thing is for sure, and that is we all have learned and grown along the way. If you’ve been following this blog, you know the obvious successes are some of the clients we are supporting to live independently in their own homes. Both Lily and Joey have been blown away by the amount of positive feedback and support you all have given them with your kind messages. Each and every one of those are shared with them. We’ve also had success internally, as an organization. Opportunity Inc. has truly embraced the culture and concept of community. From our board of directors to our front line staff, we have change our language, systems and policies to reflect a support based model with a focus on community. The grant from the BPDD gave us the means to dive into the CSL program to pick apart and identify the processes that do and don’t work. We’ve been able to create a Learning Community. The Learning Community gives us a central place to share stories, develop training and streamline communication. We’ve been able to work with Joe Erpenbeck through LinkEd to gain an understanding of community engagement and how we can apply this concept in how we operate. There are also challenges. We’ve identified the need for a clarity of expectations. As you know, we have been given this clarity and feel good as continue to provide this model of supports within the contractual expectations. We’ve identified the need for adequate training. We continue to evolve the training through the use of the Learning Community. We’ve identified and have anticipated staffing difficulties both now and in the years to come. And finally, we’ve identified that we are uncertain of the financial viability of the CSL program. While we still face uncertainty with the last two challenges, we are confident we will make progress in both areas in the months to come. I want to end this post with a big thank you to all of you who have shared positive feedback and encouragement on our Journey. Opportunity Inc. continues to be passionate about the direction we are headed in and about the possibility to make a difference in every life we touch. Thank you!
In an effort to offer the best possible community based program options, Opportunity Inc. has enlisted help from Joe Erpenbeck. Joe has joined our journey as a facilitator for a small focus group of staff and leadership. This focus group is learning about community connecting, building community and how to engage clients and community in creative, individualized, meaningful ways. As we continue sharing and learning with Joe, our vision for the focus group to spread their ideas and excitement throughout the organization and with clients in every area of programming we offer. Opportunity Inc. is dedicated to creating community and truly connecting the people we support with their community.
Opportunity Inc. has begun implementing the Learning Community as a tool for communication and training within the Community Supported Living Model. Staff working in the field work in various locations throughout the day. It becomes difficult to communicate consistently and regularly with each staff member and even more challenging to coordinate getting them together. Predicting that this would be a challenge as the CSL program grows and the number of staff increase, Opportunity Inc. reached out to LinkEd for assistance in creating an online communication tool. This tool, the Learning Community, remains in it’s infancy as it relates to communication. The most successful part of the Learning Community has been the training component. Using what we have learned throughout this journey, Opportunity Inc. has been able to identify training areas that are the most important to the front line staff to have success working in CSL. With the assistance of LinkEd and through the Learning Community, Opportunity Inc. has been able to create an efficient, applicable and cost effective training program for the staff working in the CSL program. As we continue to evolve the Learning Community, we are excited to see how it will evolve to help us offer a quality model of support.
Since the beginning of this journey, Opportunity Inc. has embraced the idea of offering Community Supportive Living model of support to people living in their own homes. Most recently, we have been able to see the success of several people who have transitioned into their own homes. Sharing in the success with them has reignited the passion amongst our staff and leadership that this model can and does work. We are so fortunate to be invited into their lives to provide support to play a small part in their success. In addition to the joy that we have experience through the successes of our clients, we have also learned along the way. Opportunity Inc. has created systems, policies and procedures which lay the foundation of the CSL program. We have learned that while we have a foundation for the expectation in the model, there remains so much individuality within the delivery of the supports. This continues to be one of the greatest positive aspects of the program, yet one that is equally the most challenging. Opportunity Inc. continues to be excited to offer supports to people living in their own homes and learning as we continue on the journey.