Partnering for a Good Life

by   |   Wed, Feb 11th, 2015

How would you define a “good life?” Your definition may include family, health, wealth, faith, opportunities to travel and etc. Each of our lists would likely be different depending upon our individual interests, values and beliefs.

At TCBDD, we are asking our employees, clients and community stakeholders to re-think the way in which services are provided for persons with developmental disabilities. Instead of developing education and career plans for persons with developmental disabilities, we are striving to make these decisions with persons with disabilities. Meaning, persons with disabilities provide their own definition of what a good life looks to them. Then, together we partner with families and community members to achieve the dreams expressed by the individual.  

The programming offered by TCBDD is enacting this new model. Through innovative community partnerships such as TRACE U and PACE U, TCBDD is partnering with community stakeholders to provide internships at various settings throughout our community. It is the goal of these programs to provide persons with developmental disabilities with the skill set and job experience needed to pursue a variety of career opportunities. TCBDD staff members are also participating in the Good Life training program. As part of this program, TCBDD staff will learn techniques and strategies to ensure that the services provided by the agency are person-centered and built upon the desires and values expressed by our clients.

Before accepting the position of the Community Relations/Special Projects Coordinator for TCBDD, I managed a disability-focused community development project in Africa. It was the objective of this project to facilitate access to clean water and sanitation facilities for persons with disabilities. As part of this work, I spent many hours interacting with persons with disabilities to better understand the challenges they faced as well as the solutions they envisioned.

On one occasion, I met with a young man with disabilities who was approximately twenty years old in a rural part of the country of Mali. This young man’s mother expressed that her son had rarely ever left their small home due to fears that community members would treat her son harshly because of his disability.

As I interacted with this young man, he took me over to a small corner of the room where he had assembled various wires, batteries and small lights. When he connected the various wires to the batteries, numerous bright lights illuminated across an old wooden board. In this moment, this young man broke barriers. He showed me that he possessed dreams, desires and capabilities far beyond the limits placed upon him. For me, this experience reflected the good life process. In interacting with this young man, he showed me his unique capabilities and passions.  

As we began 2015, I would like to ask you to dream with TCBDD as we re-think what is possible. Let’s partner together to pursue a good life for all residents of Tuscarawas County. 

Wed, Feb 11th, 2015