MEMPHIS, Tenn., Sept. 3, 2019 -- Shelby Residential & Vocational Services (SRVS) has been awarded $150,000 by the Assisi Foundation to expand the non-profit disability services agency’s Independence Coach model of support that increases self-determination and independence for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“Independence Coaches are intentionally trained to provide support that encourages an individual’s autonomy and community participation, empowering people with disabilities to live meaningful lives of their choosing,” said Tyler Hampton, SRVS executive director. “We are very thankful to the Assisi Foundation for their investment in this innovative concept. This funding will help people have richer lives and improved health outcomes, both physical and mental, through the addition of 120 new independence coaches over the next two years.”
According to the American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and The Arc, historically people with disabilities “have not had the opportunity or the supports to make choices and decisions about the most important aspects of their lives. Instead, they have often been overprotected and involuntarily segregated, with others making decisions about key elements of their lives.”
Focusing on coaching, teaching and mentoring, SRVS seeks to transform services from the traditional, tightly controlled caregiver model to one where staff are trained to become more aware of the independent needs of people they support and provide tools so people can make their own decisions.
“This is a dramatic change from the way services have been delivered, where direct support staff, typically in settings with multiple people, would do practically everything for the people they support,” Hampton said. “Now, by allowing more dignity of choice, giving people the space to make more independent decisions, staff are seeing the people they support become happier, healthier and better adjusted.”
SRVS currently employs 13 independence coaches supporting 10 individuals in four homes. By training up to 120 additional independence coaches, SRVS expects to impact the lives of 465 people in the next two years through the independence coach model.