A Journey Through Lighthouse – “Community”
Since the early days of Lighthouse, community has been vital to our success. From initial funding and support of neighboring businesses, churches, and community members to continued partnerships with local non-profit organizations and businesses, we are grateful for the community surrounding us.
Whether the goal is to develop their vocational skills or enhance their abilities in different areas of life through education, Lighthouse participants are afforded the opportunity to engage in the community in several ways.
The Community Participation Supports program allows individuals to develop and sustain valued relationships with community members, develop vocational skills through volunteer opportunities and internships, and explore their interests in the community through community outings.
By partnering with nonprofits such as ReUzit on State, Meals on Wheels and Art of Recycle, individuals learn not only how to improve their transferrable skills, but also the value of giving back to the community in a tangible way. A group of two or three individuals might work together to sort and process donations or deliver meals to elderly community members; all the while they are making connections and building relationships with people outside of their usual circles. Internships at the local Grocery Outlet allow for growth in a for-profit business as individuals learn how to face product on the shelves and maintain a safe, tidy environment for customers. Relationships are fostered in less formal settings through community outings to parks, nature preserves, coffee shops, and the like.
More recently developed, The S.H.I.N.E. Collective provides skill-building opportunities while supporting community members in financial, social, emotional, and/or spiritual need. Individuals shop for menu ingredients, cook in the kitchen of a partnering church, and deliver a meal to someone in need. These in-person encounters offer a chance for socializing and connection between the recipients of the meal and Lighthouse participants. Through this program, The S.H.I.N.E. Collective aims to be a visible expression of God’s love by Spreading Hope In Neighborly Encounters.
For those who desire more focused training in a community setting, Small Group Employment offers individuals a chance to expand their vocational skills by contracting with local businesses to complete work on site alongside their own employees. An Employment Specialist from Lighthouse accompanies a group of two or three individuals, providing the necessary coaching to assist each person towards improving their skills on the job itself and in professional interactions with peers and supervisors.
We are thankful for the many community connections and for each organization that partners with us. By promoting diverse community integration experiences, Lighthouse is committed to meeting the needs of each individual and shining light on the value within every person.
– Ashley Hankins – Program Associate