Hi-Hope Service Center provides vital support to individuals, their families and the surrounding community. Hi-Hope's mission is to support adults with disabilities by building and sustaining individual independence. Supporting adults to build social connections is an important key to increasing individual independence. Thanks to the investment of volunteers there is hope on the horizon for many adults with developmental disabilities.
Here are just a few of the volunteers who are assisting adults with developmental disabilities in building social connections.
Hiroko Nishiguchi volunteers at Hi-Hope on a regular basis in Hi-Hope's art shop. Using her creative skills and whatever unique, and often leftover, supplies might be available she educates adults on shapes, colors, and structure. Some amazing sculptures have resulted. Claude Waters cleaned out his garage and came to Hi-Hope with armfuls of beautiful silk flowers. He spent two hours exposing individuals to the art of flower arranging. Linn Honeycutt comes weekly to Hi-Hope and accompanies a group of individuals as they deliver Meals on Wheels. His engagement allows them to experience the joy of regular volunteering.
Hi-Hope's weekday program and residential programs are places where individuals are educated about social connections that may be of interest to them. We have opportunities to educate individuals about a variety of topics which support their identification of activities that are important to them. For example, physical fitness, cooking, gardening, literacy, history, volunteering, arts and crafts, recreational games and music are topical areas of interest. Could you share your knowledge and experiences about one of these or another area that is important to you? If so, you just might spark an interest and make a friend.
Once a potential area of interest is identified, we seek to expose individuals to those activities so they can decide if they enjoy spending time in that pursuit. That may happen on our site, or in a community setting which would support brief opportunities for an individual to see what it is like to actually do that particular activity. Could you introduce an individual to your hobby? Show them how to engage in what is so important to you? If so, you just might broaden their life experiences and deepen a friendship.
Once an individual has been exposed to an activity, they decide whether they would like to experience that activity on an ongoing basis. Social connection experiences are best when an individual is included in opportunities in integrated community settings. Would your group, club, class, or family welcome an adult with a developmental disability who shares your interest? If so, you just might find even more meaning in your activity and make a lasting friendship.
If you are interested in sharing your knowledge, skills or connections with an adult with a developmental disability, please contact Hi-Hope at 770-963-8694 or go to www.hihopecenter.org. Hi-Hope Service Center - cultivating community and opportunity for adults with developmental disabilities -- 50 years strong and growing.
Susan Boland Butts is executive director of the Hi-Hope Service Center.