As many of you know, we have worked with clients for 92 years and that the longevity of this agency, really any organization, is the result of hard work and careful consideration of future needs. In 2018, we embarked on two projects to guide our future work: strategic planning and a program review. To help inform these projects, we conducted surveys and roundtable discussions with clients, family members, staff, and volunteers to gather feedback about current services and discuss the future of programming.
In particular, we learned a lot about our Out & About programming for adults – redefining what success looks like and determining a path to implement a service delivery model that strengthens our partnership with clients. Big “take-aways” included:
- LifeBridge Partnership is a place to make friends, meet other people with disabilities and determine what each person wants from participating in community life.
- Staff members do a good job supporting clients in building skills and safely accessing the community.
- Clients feel safe having door-to-door service and riding on LifeBridge vans compared to using public transportation.
- There is concern about the cost of programs and transportation.
- Clients who “graduate” from services want to stay connected and have a path back to come back if life circumstances change.
- Clients do not want or need a “cookie cutter” program with defined steps and timelines and require everyone to learn how to use public transportation.
- Clients and family members identified additional teaching opportunities regarding community safety such as how to use a cell phone, stranger awareness, money management, and using a computer.
- Clients rely on us to advocate on behalf of them.
- We have an opportunity to strengthen services by communicating better about the skill building supports we provide and asking for feedback more frequently.
- We need to find community partners with whom we can collaborate to not only expand opportunities for clients, but optimize the resources we have available to us.
Where do we go from here? We have an opportunity to serve our community better, by strengthening communication with our families, LifeBridge Friends, potential clients, and the community at large. We are now working to implement this vision with clients (click here to see details of the program redesign). We are also seeking ways to partner with the community at large in bigger ways. We are so thankful for all of you that are on this journey with us. Thank you for your support today and in the future!