The Brave Warrior Project is beginning their Adult Enrichment Program in Chelan starting October 17th.
From BWP: “As of now, with our staff schedules, we will be offering Tuesdays & Thursdays 9am-12pm! We have hired one staff for the program and I will be helping out as well! In the future, with more staff and more participant growth we can add more days and afternoons!”
The programs will be offered at the Brave Warrior location adjacent to Ridgeview Place.
The recent outbreaks are serving as reminders of lots of things, some good and some frustrating. I haven’t been posting much though since we had pretty much slowed down working with families on getting involved in Ridgeview Place. But, that doesn’t mean we haven’t been busy.
We have been working on the business at Ridgeview, Lakeline LLC, which has been thriving during the pandemic. E-commerce, as business model turns out to be perfect for a pandemic. That said, there have been supply chain challenges that have limited the growth the last 18 months.
We have been having fun too. There have been concerts in parks, work, heavy equipment operation, Kokanee fishing, volunteer work, and even attended a fair. We will have to see how it looks moving forward regarding what fun events we participate in.
Since the spring, we have been able to meet with a few families and are scheduled to have an additional resident moving in shortly. We are so pleased with our new resident and his family! They are fabulous.
We have been adaptable, reasonably cautious and kept everyone healthy during the pandemic so far.
We’re still out here living a great life. I haven’t been beating the bushes, but do welcome your questions and inquiries.
Creation of the perpetual housing machine for family members who need support to be successful in everyday life is a tremendous concern for most parents of people with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD). One of the things we most like about the Shared Living model is it can be setup in a customized fashion to meet an individual’s needs.
Furthermore, the resident/consumer controls the home and service providers are separate. The service providers may change, but the residents remain in the home.
Retirement and estate planning when you are a family with a child with special needs is a little different. Our friend Frank described it really well. Frank said that it isn’t just about figuring out how to not run out of money during your life. When you have one of these kiddos, you have to figure out how to build a perpetual motion machine that will function for as long as it needs to after you’re gone and provide for, protect and care for your child.
How much that might take financially is really a huge unknown, and is also probably a pretty large number. And, if you move beyond the finances you have to have people involved who would have the concern and follow-up that you yourself would have if you could be around for your child’s whole life.
That second part is what we’re building now at Ridgeview. We have a structure to work through the financial issues that doesn’t rely on government or other programs. It’s about the best shot at a financial perpetual motion machine that we can come up with. Even that relies on having skilled and caring people making decisions to keep it moving.
That’s where the tribe comes in. We are currently spending all the time we can with the other families who are serious about Ridgeview. When our kids move in, which should begin in 2019, they will already be good friends with lots of great shared experiences. I know my son is getting excited about it.
As part of that, the group of parents and the families involved are also becoming good friends. This is a project that will span generations, so we are taking the opportunities as they come to all get to know and be comfortable that we have similar visions of what we want to see happen at Ridgeview. We are, after all, the team tasked to make it happen. That team, as we spend time at it, really becomes a tribe when it come to our kids at Ridgeview. The siblings and other extended family of the residents will probably be involved at some point so it is great if they’re not strangers and best if they’re friends.
Already this tribe building is working to expand the horizons of our kids as they get together and we do things socially they wouldn’t have done on their own. Recently, we’ve toured the Rocky Reach dam, ridden go-karts, gone bowling a few times and visited the Hydroplane museum. And, we’re getting some folks together for the unique way the town of Chelan celebrates Halloween.
It takes time to build a tribe, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a good time! A strong tribe is a big part of the perpetual motion machine we are putting together. If it sounds like fun, we do still have at least one spot open….
Back when we started working on Ridgeview Place, there wasn’t a term that was in use in the industry serving adults with developmental disabilities to describe the type of living situation we were creating. Now, there is a term. “Shared Living” or “Shared Living Solutions” is the term used to describe how Ridgeview Place works.
It is where a group of individuals live together, and either own or pay rent on, their home. The arrangement usually involves a total of 2 to 4 people. They may receive instruction and support delivered by contracted service providers. Individuals pay their own rent, food, and other personal expenses. This is a different type of arrangement than a group home or adult home. You can see the way DSHS categorizes things here.
There can be significant advantages for Shared Living arrangements. Partners4Housing (partners4housing.com) is working to help create Shared Living arrangements in the Puget Sound area and has an assessment and roommate matching tool as part of their process to getting successful Shared Living homes operating.
Ridgeview Chelan is not as far outside of the mainstream as it was when we started. Shared Living arrangements can have lots of advantages. When coupled with the Social Entrepreneurship of Ridgeview Place, most all of the concerns about creating an integrated, sustainable and stable home for adults with disabilities are addressed.
We lived in the Everett/Mukilteo area before we moved to Chelan over a dozen years ago. Our lives were set up pretty well, even though there were traffic and crowds, our commutes were on side streets and about 10 minutes. We had beautiful views, things to do, lots of friends and a great life there.
But it wasn’t ideal for our son, Turner. Schools were an issue. He was bullied and mistreated at school. The schools weren’t interested in working with the way he learned and to get what we needed would take an adversarial approach.
But the problems went further than the schools. The area was populous enough, that anonymity was the rule so most people ignored our son, or worse were rude, would take advantage of him or bully him. Certainly not everybody was like that, but it was not uncommon.
Turner needed a better world to explore. So, we upended our lives and moved to Chelan. And, it was WORTH IT! Just because Turner is on the spectrum doesn’t mean he isn’t social. Of course he’s a social being!
Chelan has the small town environment we were seeking. While Turner doesn’t know everybody in town, he knows most of them. He’s a celebrity in town, who is valued for his quick smile and upbeat attitude. His enthusiasm and happiness are contagious and people everywhere engage Turner in a positive way.
The environment alone makes Chelan a great place for Ridgeview Place. But, when all that bonus stuff is factored back in, Lake Chelan, the inviting climate, and one of the most popular places in Washington for people to want to be; Chelan is perfect!
Turner gives back to the town too. Whether it is the Food Bank or the Fire Department, Turner is happy to do whatever he can to help out. Turner fits right in. It doesn’t take effort to create an inclusive environment, it just is an inclusive environment when you see the same people all of the time.
Chelan is big enough that there are things going on too. Turner participates in Special Olympics, loves to bowl, has learned to play guitar and has bands he can play with. Most every excavation company in town is friends with him.
Anonymity doesn’t exist in Chelan, at least not for long. The first night we moved into our new home in Chelan years ago, Turner had a melt down. He was screaming and rightfully a neighbor was concerned and called the police. So, we got to know the police right away. The interaction was great and Turner is now on a friendly, first-name basis with the first responders in the area.
When thinking of a place that your family member with a developmental disability can thrive, it takes not only a great home and work environment, but a community that will embrace and support them. So, if you come to check out Ridgeview Place, spend some time checking out the town as well.
As for us, tomorrow is the annual St Patrick’s day Dog Parade. Everybody knows Turner loves dogs. He will be busy saying hello to his human and canine friends, and then probably ride with his buddies in one of the Fire Engines. Half of the town participates in the two-block long parade and the other half cheers them on! Have a great weekend, we will!