Bridge Builder Project
How can we find the “good life” for our loved ones with disabilities?
Everyone wants to be valued members of a community with employment, recreation, independence and meaningful relationships. As family members and individuals with disabilities, we have felt isolated in pursuit of this vision. We also know that sometimes a little bit of high quality support can create great outcomes! Since 2009, families in LOV-Dane have realized that working together to hire and train this high quality support is very productive and energizing. Individuals with disabilities and their families designed and run the Bridge Builder project which collectively hires staff to support the building and maintenance of a full life. While our values of full community inclusion remain the same; the substance of the support changes based on the needs of the project members.
LOV-Dane families have put together an innovative support model in which:
- Families and individuals with disabilities collectively dream up the kind of support they want and then write the job description.
- Families and individuals with disabilities are on the interview committee and help decide which applicants to interview and hire.
- Family effort allows the cost of support to remain low, while still being able to pay our Bridge Builders a higher than average hourly rate, which helps to attract high quality, high skill employees.
- Families and individuals with disabilities continue to meet regularly after the staff person is hired to provide ongoing project feedback and mutual support to one another.
- Individuals work directly with the Bridge Builder to achieve their goals. The goal dictates how frequently the member meets with the Bridge Builder.
- The networks of community allies and families are utilized collectively to build connections into community. Natural Supports and/or independence replace paid support over time.
Do you think the Bridge Builder project would be a good fit for your family? Please read this document for more information about joining.