Lookout Mountain Community Services’ Kaleidoscope program is celebrating the many accomplishments and achievements by people with disabilities living in the community.
The agency provides a Host Home Program. A host and a participant recently answered questions about the program in an interview because March is Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.
Interview with Kay Anderson, Host Home Provider
What exactly is a host home provider and what does that role involve?
Lookout Mountain Community Service’s Host Home Program gives adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) the pleasure of living in the community of their choice in a private family home environment, tailored to meet their desires and needs. Host Home Providers (HHP) help individual’s live rich, meaningful lives in the communities they call home.
One-step of the process helps match the individual with the right HHP. When a good match happens, the individual becomes like a member of the family. HHPs help meet the needs and desires of the individual by being good role models and giving positive guidance along life’s road.
Some of the skills we focus on include basic daily living care, learning to prepare nutritious meals, making sure individuals get medical attention when needed, providing transportation to and from appointments and recreational activities, and helping them reach their goals they set for themselves.
What was it that first attracted you to consider becoming a host home provider?
One thing that attracted me to becoming a HHP was working from home. Another thing that attracted me was getting the chance to help someone by becoming a positive role model for the person.
Seeing individuals reach their goals and dreams is very exciting. You get attached very easily, and so do the individuals we serve. While the pay is not bad, the benefit of knowing you are making a difference in someone’s life is the greatest reward of all.
How long have you been doing this kind of work?
Since we all need a break every now and then, I started working with individuals with developmental disabilities by providing respite care so that family members could take a short-term break.
This gave me the opportunity to see if becoming a HHP was something I would be good at and enjoy. Altogether, I have been doing this sort of work for about 8 or 9 years.
What is a meaningful experience you have had in opening your home to people with disabilities?
I would say the most meaningful thing I have learned from being a HHP and being around individuals with developmental disabilities, is understanding that their lives matter! They have desires, dreams and goals just like everyone does, a job in the community, hobbies, a family, friends, just the ability to enjoy the life God has given to them.
The individuals I have had the privilege of knowing have added so much to my life, personally, as they give of themselves and love my family and me in return.
What would you say to encourage others to consider this opportunity?
If you are someone who is caring and has a good heart or just want to make a difference in the life of an individual with intellectual or developmental disabilities, I would encourage you to consider becoming a Host Home Provider.
You might want to start like I did by doing short term respite care at first, or you may already know this is something you would enjoy and be great at.
If you want to find out more about opening your home to a person with a disability, contact Jim Moon, the IDD Director at Kaleidoscope at 706-375-2142 or Angela Mackler, Residential and Case Management coordinator at 423-991-0034.
Interview with Loretta Self
What has it been like to come to live with Ms. Kay in a host home?
I like living with the Andersons because they’ve been wonderful to me. Being part of their family has changed my life, and they’ve come into my heart. I miss my family, but I feel like living in a host home has helped me be more independent.
It’s important to me to have someone to talk to about things especially when I get upset. I like having more people to talk to at Kaleidoscope, the day program I attend that is part of Lookout Mountain Community Services, too.
I’m glad I have someone close to me now to love and help me not be afraid and feel safe.
How do you think you have grown because of this experience?
I’ve grown and learned about things like going to church, cooking and following the rules of my home. I’ve learned how to get along with others better, and I’m getting used to living here. I enjoy doing all kinds of stuff with Ms. Kay.
What are some of your goals and dreams?
I dream about a lot of things. Some of my hopes and dreams are that one day I would like to be married and live with my husband and clean my own house, but no kids!
I want to go on vacations with my home provider. I’d really like to go to a college basketball game. I enjoy exercising, playing sports like basketball, softball and walking, but not karate because I’m afraid of getting hurt. I love to dance and listen to music.
I really would like to have a job too, so I can make money to use on vacation.
Rebecca Clark – Lookout Mountain CSB/Kaleidoscope, “Celebrating the accomplishments of people with disabilities”, www.northwestgeorgianews.com, 03.16.2020
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