Melwood's Community Support Services supports more than 1200 children, youth and adults with differing abilities to work and play where and how they choose.
Community Support Services was developed to provide home and community-based supports and services to individuals with differing abilities and their families. We strive to empower individuals to gain life skills and independence through individualized programming.
Personal Supports Services are individualized services that provide the necessary supports to help adults and children with differing abilities remain at home with their family or to succeed independently and live in their own apartment or home.
Community Connections is a supportive service program providing quality day habilitation services in integrated community settings for individuals who want alternatives to facility based supports.
Community Connections is a service program providing quality day habilitation in an integrated community setting for individuals who want alternatives to facility-based supports. Our objective is to provide opportunities for people with differing abilities to enjoy meaningful community activities. Individual outcomes and paths to achieving these outcomes are determined through person-centered planning. Supports are developed and continually reassessed so that we capture the strengths and personal preferences of each participant in the program ensuring meaningful services daily. Community integration is realized through volunteering, self-determination/self-advocacy training, continuing education, employment and participation in other community functions (arts, health education, exercise, etc.). Services are individualized; and groups include no more than four individuals with differing abilities. Group members must have similar interests outlined in their individual plans. Transportation to and from will be provided/arranged by Melwood with priority given to the use of public transportation.
The Community Employment program provides employment opportunities to people with differing abilities in an integrated work setting
The Community Employment program was developed based on the philosophy that every person with a differing ability is capable of working competitively in the community when a suitable position and work environment is available to him/her. Rather than trying to sculpt individuals into “perfect workers” through extensive prevocational assessments and training, individuals in the program are offered the supports necessary to find and retain jobs that capitalize on their personal strengths and motivation. Thus, the primary goal is not to change the individual, but to find a natural “fit” between the individuals’ strengths and experiences with a job in the community.
The Work Experience Group at Melwood is a program designed to provide employment opportunities within the community for individuals with differing abilities. Our focus is to assist program participants in obtaining the experience to achieve full time or seasonal employment. People in this program will volunteer at various organizations in the greater DC area in the following business areas: food service, custodial, business services, animal care, and warehousing areas.
Each person in the Work Experience group is given support to help develop methods for overcoming potential barriers to competitive employment. Positive work behaviors, the development of quality work skills, and the development of acceptable attendance and punctuality are issues that are reinforced.
Case managers and/or Job Development Coordinators provide one-to-one support to the individual in the process of finding a job. We center the job exploration process around the participants interests, skills, and preferences. The job search begins soon after entering the supported employment program. We develop their skills as job seekers through career exploration, resume writing, interviewing preparations and travel training. This support provides individualized preparation to address challenges specific to the targeted job to meet the person’s employment goal.
Customized support on the job is a vital component in the process of achieving permanent competitive employment. We work with program participants on the job site to help them learn job skills, providing guidance and support to employers, and advocating for any necessary adjustments to the work environment. A number of interventions can be arranged to foster a positive career experience for the individual, supervisor, co-workers, family members and support teams. These efforts are considered natural supports.
Melwood developed its Day Services program based on an experiential learning model that provides choices for individuals to live a fulfilling life. Each day we customize 6-7 hours of meaningful activities and we continually reassess each individual and his/her preferences. Depending on personal preferences, participants have the choice to participate in hands-on learning activities that occur both on site and in the community. This choice model allows participants to gain and/or maintain cognitive skills, refine motor skills, achieve measurable goals, encourage skill development, and emphasize continued growth in the community.
Through the program we connect people to community resources and meaningful activities following the best practices in quality day habilitation. We offer participants opportunities to engage in activities that include creative arts, culinary arts, fitness, horticulture therapy, life skills development, and employment readiness. Some of the activities offered include volunteering in the community, horticultural and art activities, exercise activities, community involvement, attending performances of music and theater, attending local senior centers, and participating in paid work.