Belief grows through accepting ‘dignity of risk’
Thursday May 3, 2012 — Michelle Strutzenberger
When they first came together more than two years ago, there were families who couldn’t imagine real work for real pay as an option for their son or daughter in the community.
Since then, their sense of what’s possible has turned “100 per cent,” says one of those family members, Arlene Zuckernick.
In fact, employment in the community has become a significant strand in the group’s mission, along with lifelong learning, physical and emotional well-being, as well as giving back to the community by volunteering and having fun.
Arlene suggests people’s belief in the possibilities has come about more by “doing” than anything.
“We call it the dignity of risk,” she tells the BACI Blast.
“Basically, we’ve been willing to take chances.”
Creating this culture of being open to risk has been possible, she adds, because the group, now called InclusionWorks, is a five-year transition program.
There isn’t an underlying drive to create a system that solves a lifetime of challenges.
It’s about making connections and cultivating employment experiences and other inclusion opportunities for and with young adults who have a disability as they transition from high school.
The governance structure of the model also makes change and risk-taking easier, says Arlene.
Given its size, and the fact that the eight engaged families are all the final decision-makers, flexibility is essentially built in.
“Sometimes we change things on a daily basis,” Arlene notes.
InclusionWorks is a collection of Victoria families who have come together, pooling whatever individualized funding they have between them. They’re looking to share resources to support each person’s goal of becoming a valued and contributing member of society, outside of day programs and the micro-board system.
Since the initial group was formed in 2010, one more pod, as they’re called, has been created, with another pod in the developing process.
InclusionWorks was recently awarded $15,000 from the Community Living Innovation Venture to set up a multi-dimensional website, including a section for families who are interested in learning more about and adapting the InclusionWorks model. The goal is to go live with the site by fall 2012.
Arlene is happy to talk with anyone interested to learn about the model and how they might get involved. E-mail her at email@example.com.
— More to Come
This story is part of a BACI Blast series spotlighting Community Living innovation.
Feel free to comment below, or e-mail michelle(at)axiomnews.ca.