A group of Support Specialists, at Webster Creative Opportunities, were recently given the opportunity to pilot a new training program focused on empowering direct care staff. Jane DeMeis, Staff Development and Education, and Kim Albert, Creative Opportunities Director led a training called "Power to Create: 10 Steps". Staff were given the tools necessary to design a project that interested them and see it through from inception to completion with appropriate accommodations for their individuals. Projects included: a spaghetti dinner, a sock hop, a drive-in movie, a basketball tournament, a visit from the zoo and creating carnation corsages.
One of the things that really resonated with the staff was the positive team-building that occurred. "Even though each one of us had something different, we all worked together to make sure each person's project was a success," commented Twanya McNeil. Additionally, each person was able to take away valuable lessons about themselves, about what went well and what areas they could improve upon the next time. "I think it is a pretty valuable tool...it helps to improve staff communication and relationships and it's an important team-building thing," says Cindy Nicholson. Support Specialists at the other day program sites are in the process of creating their projects.