Last week I told the story of Pat, and I said I would “unpack” the rest of it this week.
In our field, we have standard practices, and then there are decisions we have to make automatically. Automatic actions are good. For example, if you are driving a car and the light turns yellow, you have to ask yourself to either stop or keep going. You have to make the decision quickly. You need to discern if you can safely make it through the intersection. Is the car behind you so close that if you slow down they will hit you? It is a lot to consider in a few seconds, right?
So, what are the automatic decisions we make in the disabilities field? In Pat’s case, when someone is unhappy at their job, we have one of two thoughts – does the individual hangout at home and do what they want during the day, because if so, one – to – one support staffing would need to be provided, or does the individual need to go to a day program? The funder does not pay for one – to – one support. The individual shouldn’t stay at home alone. These are automatic decisions, the available options. But, neither of these options were right ones for Pat.
We revitalized our mission at KenCrest to inspire us to ask better questions. In the case of Pat, the right questions are:
What does she want to do to help her life become more meaningful and what skills does she have or need to self-direct her day?
Fundamentally, it starts with what might she explore to make up her mind?
We eventually got to the right next step and explored what there might be in her community to meet her hopes and dreams. We mobilized resources.
In the end she found what was a meaningful life to her, we empowered a dream. She has new friends. She serves her neighbors. Her community is strengthened through people get to know her, and people view her in kindness and friendship.
So, to put it all together…
KenCrest strengthens community development by exploring opportunities, mobilizing resources and empowering dreams.
To meet the needs of our communities we need both organizations like ours and good neighbors.
Look at this story as an example of three things;
- Ask the right questions.
- See how the mission calls us to act its work.
- Believe in the value of great community development.