I create gentleness with the individuals I support by being creative in how I approach teachings of connectedness, companionship and community. I come to a person’s home with an open mind and am accepting of other supports’ ideas, while trying to fulfill one’s personal desires. I have been able to help the people I support discover a sense of community, a sense of companionship with the use of my puppy and tried my best to connect to them on a deeper level.
I taught them about companionship with my puppy, Ambrosia. When I started supporting, my puppy was about two months old and by regularly bringing her with me during my support times, they watched her grow. They were very engaged with Ambrosia and learned about gentle hands, exercise and appropriate levels of play with animals. Ambrosia was especially good at redirecting when one was was fixated on something. They enjoyed walking and going to the park, they would help me trim her nails and bath her, sometimes they even tried to play cars with her! Through the use of my dog, I helped the young men understand that companionship, hygiene, exercise and play are all essential parts of everyone’s life.
I have helped create community connections by exemplifying manners and polite greeting to strangers in public. The young men are very friendly and willing to greet neighbours, store employees and strangers. We sometimes visited a neighbour at her house after she invited us for a play date with her baby and puppy. I encourage the young men to be confident in public and show them I trust them by letting them work through transactions, conversation with employees and other interactions. I sensed that they feel fulfilled when they are allowed to be independent and have a sense of belonging when they interact with others. Other ways I have helped foster a sense of community are connecting with Pita Pit for recycling, bringing going to a MMA club to hit a punching bag, introducing them to my personal friends, going to the humane society to play with animals, playing with children at the park, and helping to use the one guy’s recycling knowledge at community parks and friends homes, etc.
In my support work, I try to be enthusiastic about the interests they enjoy, find common interests that we enjoy together, and encourage the opportunity to explore new interests. Patience, openness and my casual approach has helped me connect and it did not take long to gain trust. At times, my commitment to our relationship was tested . I would open grounds for conversation after a difficult moment by apologizing first for not understanding, or making the person upset. In my opinion, that has allowed me to show the young men that I do not see myself any different than them and hold part of the responsibility.
-Jacob, COR Family Member