Promising Practices - Community Life Engagement

Community life engagement refers to all the ways that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities access and participate in their communities outside of employment. Activities can include volunteer work; postsecondary, adult, or continuing education; accessing community facilities such as the library, gym, or recreation center; any activities that people with and without disabilities do in their spare time. CLE activities may support career exploration , wrap around work time, or serve as a retirement option. ICI is conducting research on CLE to develop guidance for states and service providers on how to improve CLE supports while maintaining a focus on Employment First.

Browse our promising practices about innovative ways that provider agencies are engaging their customers in community life engagement below.

 

TransCen’s WorkLink program: Helping individuals gain work skills through targeted volunteering and other community life engagement activities

WorkLink is a program that enables individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) to work while receiving wrap-around day services. Having access to both types of supports -- community employment and Community Life Engagement (CLE) -- is particularly important for individuals with significant IDD, who often work fewer hours and need additional support to lead active and meaningful lives. The program was started in 1996 by TransCen, Inc., and is based in San Francisco, California.

Avenues Supported Living Services: A staffing approach based on client relationships

This brief provides a look the relationship-based staffing practices at Avenues Supported Living Services of Valencia, CA. The key to Avenues’ success is a staffing approach that is grounded in client relationships. The agency limits staff hours to two shifts per week with the same individual. This is done to facilitate client-staff matching and relationship building, but also to prevent potential burnout and frustration by ensuring both the clients they support and their staff have variety in their schedules.

SEEC: Fading supports for Community Life Engagement

SEEC (Seeking Equality, Empowerment, and Community) is a Maryland-based provider of employment, community living, and community development supports to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Like many providers of individualized supports, SEEC has had to find creative ways to individualize supports even though its funding structures do not support 1:1 staffing. One way they do this is by deliberately building both human capital (community living skills) and social capital (relationships in the community).

KFI: Flexible Scheduling and Creative Staffing

Headquartered in a small rural town in northern Maine, Katahdin Friends, Inc. (KFI) provides community employment and life engagement supports, as well as home supports, to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). A flexible approach to staffing and support scheduling helps KFI ensure customized daily support schedules that meet individual goals. This approach also allows individuals to interact with a variety of direct support professionals, which is important for having a more engaged and meaningful life in the community. 

 

SEEC: Using Mobile Communication Technology

SEEC (Seeking Equality, Empowerment, and Community) is a Maryland-based provider of employment, community living, and community development supports to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Because SEEC has no central facility, having ways to maintain contact between staff and management is paramount. From prepaid cell phones in 2005 to outfitting every staff member with a tablet or a laptop today, SEEC has embraced mobile communication since it started its conversion.

TransCen’s WorkLink Program: Braiding community employment and life engagement services

WorkLink is a program that braids community employment and life engagement services. The goal is to enable individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) to work while receiving wrap-around day supports, as needed. Started in 1996, WorkLink is a program of TransCen, Inc. and is based in San Francisco.