In March, we kicked off
Pathways to Friendship. The initiative focuses on social inclusion and is a collaboration of the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) and 13 agencies providing a range of residential services across the Commonwealth. Angela Amado from the University of Minnesota Institute on Community Integration helped us launch the initiative and Larry Tummino, former DDS Deputy Commissioner, shared DDS's hope that this project would inspire sustained change in how services are delivered.
Relationships and friendships in the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities can often take a back seat to the many other activities for which direct support staff and managers are responsible. Too often, those we support feel isolated in their own neighborhoods. It's hard to imagine a full life without friends.
The 13 agencies have committed to advancing inclusion and track progress so we can share best practices with organizations across the state. The agencies are receiving training and consultation on an ongoing basis from team members Jim Ross and Mary Ann Brennen, as well as Dennis Rice, Executive Director of Alternatives Unlimited. We plan to share updates with you from the agencies and our team members upcoming issues of Notes from The Arc.
In addition to Alternatives, the agencies include: The
Arc of Bristol County
Arc of Greater Plymouth
Bay Cove Human Services
Brockton Area Multi Services Inc.
Community Systems, Inc.
JRI Developing Abilities
Minute Man Arc for Human Services
Nonotuck Resource Associates, Inc.
Riverside Community Care
Seven Hills Community Services
In the words of Saint Thomas Aquinas, "Friendship is the source of the greatest pleasures, and without friends even the most agreeable pursuits become tedious."
We look forward to sharing more with you in the months ahead!