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Christine Williams: Advancing Volunteer Involvement

Submitted By: Jessica Gantner, St. Louis Arc

The mission of St. Louis Arc is to empower people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families to lead better lives by providing a lifetime of high-quality services, family support, and advocacy. To strengthen these efforts, employees of St. Louis Arc like Direct Support Professional Christine Williams, use the Personal Outcome Measures® every year to explore people’s preferences and goals. As Christine was using this discovery process with a person receiving supports named Georgia, the conversation led them to focus on indicators such as people participate in the life of the community, people have friends, people perform different social roles, people choose where they work, and people choose personal goals.

Through these indicators within the Personal Outcome Measures®, Georgia identified a goal to create a volunteer schedule at St. Monica Catholic Church. This particular goal was something very meaningful to Georgia, as she has attended St. Monica Catholic Church in the past. Pursuing this goal provided Georgia with personal satisfaction, purpose, and a sense of independence to make her own decisions through every step of the process.

Christine immediately began to take the necessary steps to support Georgia in achieving this goal, working with Georgia to identify several volunteer opportunities she would like to participate in at the church. They discussed what she enjoyed the most about St. Monica. and what her resulting goal was involving volunteering.

Christine and Georgia took a number of steps towards her goal like researching options online, obtaining the volunteer application, making phone calls, and networking through social media. Christine helped Georgia set up her own account on Facebook and an email account to communicate with family and friends. With the support of Christine in getting the process started, Georgia was able to connect with St. Monica Catholic Church. She has completed and submitted her volunteer application, is now on their mailing list for upcoming and special events, and has been invited to a ladies’ social gathering once a month. Georgia is confident and able to call and speak with the volunteer coordinator about opportunities at the church.

Working towards Georgia’s goal has made a great impact on her. She now talks about attending the church and asks if the church has called about attending the monthly ladies’ gathering! The benefits for achieving this outcome helped her become more socially connected with her community, build relationships, develop natural supports, and give back to her community when she volunteers. This success has given Georgia a sense of accomplishment and self-confidence, along with making her feel happy and independent.

Beyond just Georgia, Christine has supported many people through the Aging with Empowerment (AWE) program, helping them meet their goals. Christine has a strong understanding of the St. Louis Arc’s vision and mission and it shows in her willingness to help support people to achieve their outcomes!

2018 Direct Support Professional Recognition Week

This article is part of a campaign during the 2018 Direct Support Professional Recognition Week, to acknowledge Direct Support Professionals who are helping people achieve their individually-defined outcomes, through the use of Personal Outcome Measures®. This campaign was developed through a partnership between CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership and The National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP).