It is the intent of The Arc of Rensselaer County to move from a systems driven approach to a person centered approach to delivering supports and services to individuals with intellectual disabilities in the community. Operating from a person centered perspective, The Arc works with each individual to tailor a set of supports and/or services. The objective is to assist each individual realize full citizenship in their community of choice.
We seek to discover the needs, wants, and capabilities of each person and to respond with complimentary supports that facilitate community inclusion. We are frequently asking "What do you want?" in an effort to encourage individuals to assume a lead role in making decisions relating to all areas of their lives.
We see planning as a time to build teams of caring and committed people as a primary way to successfully implement plans, as opposed to a process that reinforces program boundaries. An effort will be made to develop a team that reflects the natural diversity of the community beyond human service membership. The plan will be flexible, learning oriented and responsive to each individual situation and our roles will be dictated by individual need rather than program orientation. Each planning process will be managed by a facilitator who is skilled in managing meetings and group dynamics; addressing conflicts; and building collaborative relations among persons with disabilities, their families/advocates, and staff. The person centered plan provides a focused communication and defines a set of roles and responsibilities that support individuals in their choice of life style.
I joined ARC because I knew that helping people as a job, rather than just during my spare time, would an efficient way to pursue this passion. I stay because assisting people to learn skills, develop community connections, and become more independent enables them to improve their own lives in the long term. The fact that we are helping an underserved population completes the trifecta: Great good is done, for those with great need, while making the most of the limited time and energy that life affords us.
- Joe Levy
Community Support Counselor
Community and Inclusion Project