Recycling Trips Help Tyler Make Friends

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The EnvisionME program at Independence Association supports a number of clients whose life challenges exceed what other area programs can manage. At this location, we provide some clients 1:1 staffing, instead of the more typical 1:3 ratio supported by governmental funding. This higher staffing ratio helps keep clients and staff safe and healthy, and also provides the level of support required for clients to attain the greatest life success.

Tyler has been attending Independence Association’s EnvisionME program for four years and has some unique needs that require one-to-one staffing support to ensure his health and safety each day. Adjusting to a new program and new people was hard, and it took time to build a trusting rapport with staff.

Initially, Tyler was disengaged, and efforts to encourage participation were not successful. Tim, a longtime employee of Independence Association, is one of Tyler’s primary Direct Support Professionals. With patience and a commitment to success, Tim has been able to support Tyler to successfully join in many activities that the EnvisionME program has to offer, most specifically expanding his community access and inclusion opportunities.

Tyler’s weekly participation in the EnvisionMe recycling group introduced him to an employee of the Topsham Transfer Station, Trent. Trent greets each transfer station customer and ensures that materials are placed correctly in designated collection bins.

Trent has taken the initiative to get to know Tyler and support him in his recycling efforts. With Tim’s assistance, Trent has even learned some of Tyler’s signs, so he is able to communicate with him directly.

Trent also has given Tyler a closer view of some of the machinery that Tyler finds fascinating. Most recently, he let Tyler see the operations of the cardboard crusher and the ever popular forklift!

Generous financial support from our friends, including the United Way of MidCoast Maine, has made it possible for Independence Association’s EnvisionME Program to afford 1:1 staffing supports for Tyler and others who need them.

Your generosity has allowed for increased and successful community access that promotes activities of choice, inclusion and, most importantly, the opportunity to make friends!

- Holly Randall