The blog this week was written by Deborah Warfield, a Community Broker at The Arcadia Institute. The main purpose of Community Brokering is to connect people with disabilities to live a full community life as they choose. This is done through the person working with a Community Broker who does three basic things: 1) gets to know the person, 2) facilitates Personal Future Planning meeting and 3) continues to follow up on the plan as needed.
Once the participant has experienced these three things listed above,the rest of the journey depends largely upon the participant's willingness and ability to begin to assume more levels of leadership for their own lives. One great example of that is Greg. Just when I thought that Greg had reached a plateau of sorts,with being more active and connected in his community, I find that he has begun to exhibit a newfound sense of leadership and control over his on life.
Greg was frustrated with intermittent supports from living assistants and made the decision to move to Self-Determination. Now Greg leads his employees as they together expand into the community with grocery shopping, socializing and exercising. Greg pays closer attention to grooming himself as he is in pursuit of a relationship with a significant other that would be a good fit. He's more likely to have an opportunity to meet new people and make new friends outside of his current community of primarily service providers.
Greg has also taken the lead on stepping up his game in community volunteering and registering for more Art Classes. As a result of also being promoted into a summer Assistant Art Instruction position Greg continues to pad his resume with skill set and references. He reports of an upcoming gallery display that will be shown at a local Coffee Shop soon.
Greg steps out into broader social circles as well and has invited his internet friend of four years to come to Kalamazoo and hangout physically together.
The greatest of suggestions and opportunities fall by the wayside until we personally take the lead to change the direction of our lives. Greg continues to inspire me to press into leadership when it gets hard for me at times. That's another side of Community Brokering that is a benefit. Community Brokers and members of the participant's ever-expanding Community Circle often learn more about how to become a better leader while watching our participants grow.