Kris Perry has been looking for a new job that fits with his abilities. So when he and his family heard about a pilot project for a new program CLBC is developing called L.I.F.E.-based service, they jumped on board.
The new L.I.F.E.-based service, which stands for Learning, Inclusion, Friendship and Employment, will support individuals who want to get a job but also want support with building friendships, connecting to the community and learning skills that build confidence and independence.
Kris, 41, has been involved in a community inclusion program with Lifetime Networks in Victoria for almost a decade. So when Lifetime Networks approached him about participating in the pilot, it sounded like an interesting change. Lifetime Networks is one of five agencies piloting the new service. The pilot is running from April 2019 to January 2020 before CLBC begins to offer it more broadly.
Kris had a job delivering community newspapers but was looking for something new because it was physically challenging to navigate the terrain at times. He’s been hoping to find something that is safer and makes use of his talents and skills.
“This pilot sounds interesting. It’s something new for Kris. It has the potential for good change and perhaps more balance in his everyday life, and that translates into the family experiencing that too,” says Kris’s mother Barbara Power. “L.I.F.E.-based has a strong emphasis on finding employment and that has always been a challenge for Kris given his abilities and limitations. So this is a different approach from what he’s had before.”
Kris has started working with the team at Lifetime Networks, which has also been involving Barbara in the research and planning of activities to meet his goals.
“I’m absolutely feeling like I’m more involved than I did before when he would go to his day program,” says Barbara. “The pilot is giving us a chance to do some work together so we’re liking that part of it.”
Life filled with possibilities
Kris has always contributed to his community by volunteering on various boards of directors or advisory committees. What he really wants is an office job where he can get up and move around but also not be required to be on his feet all day. He’s starting off the pilot by volunteering for an organization making thank you phone calls to donors because he’s comfortable on the phone and recognizes the importance of donors. He can do it on his time, while sitting, and he’s expanding a skill he already has – communication. This could then be a skill he learns for a paid position with the same organization or another organization.
Barbara is also excited about the other three cornerstones of L.I.F.E.-based that would allow for the friendships and networks to be in place and evolve in the way that Kris needs them.
“He’s been talking about going to a movie with a friend for a while but then the planning doesn’t happen,” says Barbara. “With the L.I.F.E.-based focus on friendships there will be a facilitator who will help Kris and his friend actualize that plan. So there’s a different kind of support, a necessary support.”
Part of the pilot involves “check-ins” and “tune-ups,” which include Lifetime Networks, Kris, Barbara and her husband Michael, to to see if anything needs to be adjusted.
Barbara is hoping to connect with other families who are participating in the pilot to share experiences. She recognizes it will be an adjustment to their routine for Kris to go to different locations at different times each week for various activities.
“Even if we bump up against something, rather than shut it down or go in a different direction it’s important for us to hold space and get back to it,” says Barbara. “That’s the value and the beauty of the pilot. It’s about trialing and learning and translating that. I love the checks and balances that occur. I believe in the end that the challenges or limitations and successes of our experience will feed into a more refined, solidified service.”
Readiness events take place this Fall
CLBC is planning a series of readiness events to prepare CLBC staff, service providers, individuals and families for the wider implementation of the new service. These events will help spread the word, provide information, and prepare for delivering the service in 2020 and beyond.
The readiness events, called “Gearing up for the L.I.F.E.-based Service” will be held in:
- Prince George – September 12
- Cranbrook – October 3
- Terrace – October 9
- Kamloops – October 23
- Kelowna – October 24
More information about the events will be posted in the CLBC online event calendar closer to these dates.