Community Brokering: Helping People “Look UP” and See Possibilities

Recently, a woman who runs marathons related this story to me. She was running a marathon and came to the crest of a hill. In front of her was a beautiful horizon with the sun still rising over autumn colored trees. As she ran past a couple of novice marathoners, she said, “Look up at that beautiful scene.” The runners thanked her as they were concentrating so hard on running that they had not noticed the wonder in front of them. They saw the possibilities of truly enjoying running and seeing what lay before them. Community Brokering is a way that The Arcadia Institute helps people with disabilities who may be caught in the endless marathon of navigating special services, programs and education to “look up” and see possibilities that they may not have seen in their future.

For example, we recently did a MAP (Making Actions Plans) for a young man who is really struggling with school and socializing in the community. He also loves animals and is great with them. He is particularly interested in the field of veterinary medicine, but is not sure that he can meet the educational requirements for work in that field; however, his Community Broker encouraged him to write a letter to a Veterinarian he is familiar with and request the opportunity to job shadow or help out at his facility. The young man and his family were not sure that this would be a possibility, but he did write a letter with some help from the Community Broker. The Veterinarian responded positively and the young man got to spend time at the office.

Had he not been involved with Community Brokering, he and his family would still be keeping their heads down just trying to navigate special education and other systems that are there to support him. Instead, his Community Broker offered him an opportunity to “look up” and see where he can share his interests and gifts.

For more information about The Arcadia Institute Community Broker Process please contact Allison Hammond at ahammond@thearcadiainstitute.org or 269-254-8224. You can also see a video about Community Brokering.