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PEOPLE HELPING PEOPLE: Hope on the horizon

Carl loves to help people. With the assistance of Ms. Leaty, staff member at Hi-Hope, Carl has made a meaningful community connection through volunteering at Eastside Gardens on Scenic Highway in Snellville. Every Thursday morning, Carl volunteers to call Bingo to the seniors living at Eastside Gardens. “Bingo with Carl” has a prominent and consistent place on their activity calendar.

Carl’s connection with Eastside Gardens is a perfect example of the kind of sustainable individual engagement that Hi-Hope wants to accomplish. An important goal of Hi-Hope’s Community Access program is to support adults with developmental disabilities to become valued members of their community. A meaningful community connection reflects the individual’s interests, hopes, dreams or desires and allows individuals to build relationships with people who share a similar passion.

Direct support professionals, employed by Hi-Hope, support individuals in identifying those activities which are important to them, and then assist them in engaging in those activities in integrated community settings. Carl helped Ms. Leaty to understand that he wanted to do something that would help people. Ms Leaty, in turn, helped him to get connected with the Eastside Gardens where he applied to be a volunteer. Now, for over a year, Ms. Leaty goes with Carl to support him in his volunteer work.

Colleen Lazenby, Activities Director at Eastside Gardens shared her perspective recently. “Everyone loves Carl. He is so positive, always smiling and eager to help everyone. We all look forward to seeing him and miss him if he can’t be here for Thursday morning Bingo.”

Carl said “Ms. Leaty, I love my life, I love doing this!”

To ensure a promising future for the individuals we support, Hi-Hope will continue to develop a network of supporters and partners that help to provide many opportunities for supported adults. Together, we will help adults with developmental disabilities to see what’s possible, to reach farther and to dream bigger.

If you know of an opportunity for an adult with a developmental disability to make a meaningful community connection, please contact Janis Hunter at 770-963-8694, ext 21.

Hi-Hope Service Center supports adults with developmental disabilities by building and sustaining individual independence. The Center was established in 1960 by concerned parents and caring community leaders. Today 110 individuals participate in weekday community access services and supported employment, and 23 reside in group and host homes.

Hi-Hope Service Center – cultivating community and opportunity for adults with developmental disabilities – 53 years strong and growing. Find out more about us at www.hihopecenter.org

The author of this article, Susan Boland Butts, is CEO of the Hi-Hope Center.

People Helping People is a publication of the Gwinnett Coalition for Health & Human Services. For more information contact Ellen Gerstein - ellen@gwinnettcoalition.org or at 770-995-3339.