In this ever changing world that we live in, we need to be able to adapt and change. We feel this includes how we support and mentor the individuals who come to Semiahmoo House Society (SHS). When this idea of an Intake Hub was first brought to us, we were not only intrigued, but excited to have an opportunity to help shift the way we think and empower the individuals we support to have full and fulfilled lives!
Staying true to person-centered practices we are focused on what an individual wants and what an individual needs, and guiding them to a balance of both. Our goal of having Intake Hub is to get to know individuals for who they are; their dreams, their hopes, their goals and what they really want out of life. We are working to observe what these individuals not only want, but what staff feels they need to help become the best version of them-selves. We feel one of the best ways of doing this is to expose individuals to as many possibilities and points of view as possible. We have been working toward helping individuals realise that they are not limited in what they can achieve in life.
What we’ve been focusing on in Intake Hub is giving individuals a taste of everything by discussing and learning together over a variety of different topics to aid and guide them in the direction they want to go in their lives.
Since we are catering to such a diverse group of individuals with different skill sets we have noticed at times it is difficult to explain concepts and ideas to the whole group in a way that each individual can understand. We are constantly having to adapt our learning material and ways of expressing concepts and ideas. We find as a team that some of our best observations are found toward the end of our four weeks because so much of the beginning is focused on getting to know each other. Some individual’s skills are shadowed by this process and come to light later. We are focusing on improving our ways of sharing ideas and having them become more interactive and fun versus more traditional ways of learning.
The themes that we have noticed and have been working on are communication, decision-making, and personal limits. Through our observations we have realised that communication is a skill that all the individuals we support could work on. We have noticed that most individuals have a hard time and hesitate to communicate how they really feel. We see that they come off as too concerned of how their feelings and thoughts may be construed by others. Because so many of our individuals have been told what they can or cannot do, they struggle with making decisions independently and we feel this affects their self-esteem in some ways making them feel limited.
One of the highlights of being a part of Discover Yourself is staff being able to observe individuals skills overall and seeing what they already know but may not have had the opportunity to show. We have found that we have needed to up our game with learning material because so many individuals have blown us away with what they already know and seeing their hidden talents emerge. Another highlight of Discover Yourself is seeing the personal transformation of self-esteem and watching each person discover on a deeper level who they really are. Since we are in smaller groups we are able to give each individual more one-to-one attention and focus. We have really realised how much this means to the individuals we are supporting. So many of them have opened up to us and shared personal hopes, struggles, and dreams. We have seen “aha” moments and watched concepts click and be understood.
We have found that our best observations come from candid moments where individuals don’t necessarily know they are in a structured environment being observed. When individuals don’t feel the pressure of performing or showing their skills, they seem to be more relaxed and are able to be themselves. It is structure within an unstructured environment. Group participants are moved into the appropriate program shortly after finishing Discover Yourself according to the observations that have been gathered and skill sets they need to improve. This is discussed and collaborated with individuals, staff, and management to find the right placement for them.
Being part of Intake Hub has been so gratifying for the both of us. At this point in Intake Hub the biggest drive we have is to be better for the individuals we support. We will continue to adapt and change with each group that comes through intake and keep our focus on helping them have the full lives they deserve.
Samantha Kuntz and Kelly Macdonald, Semiahmoo House Society