Mark Hassemer

I’m going fishing next week. So it’s hard to concentrate as I write this. Expect this to be brief and to the point.

In my December letter last year I talked about Community Life Engagement (CLE). CLE is about supporting people with Intellectual and other Developmental Disabilities (IDD) in non-work involvement in the community as part of a meaningful day.

You may have never thought about this before. But I’m sure you’ll agree, each of us wants a meaningful day.

It’s doing things in the community that we all do when we’re not at work. A meaningful day might include volunteering at church or a charity, going to the library to pick out a mystery novel, playing or exercising at the recreation center, taking a class, walking the trails, picnicking in the park, sipping a cold refreshment at a local establishment, or enjoying live entertainment. Some people love the thrill of a trip to the casino, while others get great joy and fulfillment from delivering a hot meal to a grieving family.

We presented these ideas and our approach at a recent state conference. The response was tremendous. People from around Missouri have come to visit us. They want to see our day program and learn about this meaningful day idea.

Some said that what they saw was not a day program. It didn’t fit with what they had in mind. We like that.

Without even visiting us, someone recently declined services in our day program. That person wasn’t interested in our offering because it didn’t align with what they had in mind.

Shakespeare said, “That which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet.”

We’ve got a great day program. It’s founded on a presence in the community that reflects the individual choices and preferences of the people who receive our services. It continues to change and improve. But maybe it’s time for a name change.

Our day program is not defined by day of the week, time of day, location, or other features that still define some programs in Missouri.

What do we do? Should we change the name? Regardless, it’s a good problem to have.

I don’t know what will happen. But I work with a lot of smart people here at ACT. I think they’ll figure it out.

In the meantime, I’m going fishing. Those, I know, will be some meaningful days!

See you next month,