Community Guide Program show great promise in Franklin County
The Community Guide program is a new concept that is being spearheaded in Franklin County. It was originally funded through a grant for community engagement as a pilot project, and is now being heralded as a vision for future community-oriented services. Originally serving just 2 people, there are now 19 people who spend an average of 5 hours a week within the community. The program has shown great promise, and major accomplishments have already been made by both staff and individuals served.
If you asked Tim how he felt about riding public transportation a year ago, he would have responded “I don’t want any part of it.” Tim now takes COTA throughout the week to volunteer at The Ronald McDonald House. He is also a member in the Next Chapter Book Club and uses public transportation to get to meetings. Not only does Tim ride COTA, he instructs his peers and Hub staff on how to get around town using the bus.
Matthew has never let his physical barriers get in the way of experiencing all that life has to offer. From attending Live Music at Mozart’s, The Next Chapter Book Club, or exploring the Columbus Arts Museum, COSI and the Ohio History Center, he regularly connects with his community. Now,with the help of our staff, Matthew has learned another skill that will help him enjoy his community even more. When Matthew first joined the hub, he could only communicate by smiling or frowning, but over the past few months, he has learned to communicate by purposefully tapping communication devices to signal “yes” and “no.” Soon, a communication device will be purchased for Matthew that will be customized just for him.
Curriculum and “the Hub”
Two primary parts of the program are a curriculum being taught to Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities staff by the Guides and a new model called “the Hub”. The curriculum addresses how to access community resources and how to approach issues such as imagery, competencies, and social capital when serving individuals with developmental disabilities in the community.
The Hub is a model of service designed to have individuals with disabilities spend as much time in the community as possible—and little time in traditional workshops or centers. This concept was first introduced by Wolf Wolfensberger in the 1970’s. Activities, volunteer and employment opportunities are person-centered and integrated with the community.
Community Guide staff
Mel Rhodes is an employee of Add as the Director of the Community Guide Program. Mary Wedlund, Senior Community Guide and David Small, Lead Community Guide are also employees of Add. Mary and David’s main priority is to work together in identifying individuals for the hub and offering community integration opportunities to serve these individuals. Over the next few months Mel, Mary and David are training150 Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities staff members all aspects of community integration. Another goal Mary and David have is to bring many more individuals into the hub so they may experience the good things of life.
For more information about the Community Guide Program, please contact Mary Wedlund.