I have a few houseplants in my home, and over the years, I’ve learned which ones grow better in certain lights and which don’t. Two years ago, Sanjiv Jalota gave me a prayer plant, which took off. It blooms regularly and is three times the size of when I received it. Because of its rapid growth, the plant needed a bigger pot and new soil. But when I went to replace them, I thought about how we can all introduce some new soil into our lives.
We can expand, we can grow, and that’s precisely what I saw when I first learned about the Life Course Framework — a set of tools designed to help organize your ideas, visions, and goals for the future. It also teaches problem-solving, navigating the world, and advocating for support. The Life Course Framework’s core belief is that everyone has the right to live, love, work, play, and pursue their life aspirations how they want.
It gives people the framework needed to discover what is most vital to them to live their best personal and professional lives. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, 21.3 percent of persons with disabilities were employed in 2022. Despite their desires to work, many people searching for employment opportunities face challenges when getting hired, which is where Charting the Life Course comes in. It helps individuals envision their future and allows them to make it happen.
A young woman we previously supported had been under our care her entire life (she was born into KenCrest, and we still support her mother). She wanted greater independence and autonomy around her life choices of what she wanted for her future, where she wanted to live, and who she wanted to live with. Her support team worked with her to thoughtfully help her chart her Life Course. She wanted to live independently, with limited support, with her romantic partner and eventually start a family. Her team guided her through the steps she’d need to take and the skills she needed to develop to achieve her goals, including employment, what it would look like to maintain her own home, and healthy communication skills. Eventually, when the day came for a formal presentation with her entire support team about her Life Course plan, SHE was the one who presented to the team what she wanted and how she would work towards achieving those goals.
We have a choice to find ways to enrich our work — to get good soil in place. Let’s not miss any opportunity to grow the good stuff. Let’s be on the lookout for birds, thin soil, and thorny circumstances. We have the power to advance what we do and enjoy the garden of diverse and beautiful dreams made true.