Family Support within the Community
A major aspect of Community Crossroads is Family Support and it is designed to help families in the community in a variety of ways and for a variety of reasons.
Family Support can be branched into two different entities known as the Family Support Department and the Family Support Council. The Family Support Department is made up of Community Crossroads employees while the Family Support Council is made up of volunteers that are impacted by disability. While these two groups are different and consist of different members, they help each other succeed in their goals.
Aleece Pappas is a Community Crossroads employee working in the Family Support Department and she is the liaison of the Family Support Council. She explained that the Council consists of volunteers who serve and are elected into the positions. Each member of the Family Support Council must be a family member or a person served by Community Crossroads or be a person with a disability.The Council has many duties that revolve around helping families live the life that is needed to succeed. The Family Support Council plays a part in bettering the lives of families we served by funding training so that families can become more educated, advocating for legislative issues in New Hampshire that have an impact on families that are served, assess needs that families have, and organize fundraising events.
One way the Family Support Council is able to shine is their fundraising events that are open to the public of all ages. Some of the events include ice cream socials, karaoke nights, movies and more. Pappas noted that planning is key to event success. One goal of these events is making sure all who attend have a positive experience and the events are accessible to all. Due to this, the noise and sensory environment of the facility that is hosting are taken into account in the planning process. One instance of the Family Support Council making a strong effort to include everyone at their events was at a trampoline park that according to Pappas had a showing of over a hundred people. “Even people in wheelchairs were sitting on the end of a ramp so they could feel the vibration of the trampoline,” said Pappas. She noted that talking to the facility about how to support all that attend is one aspect of what makes the events a success.
Pappas is a parent of someone served by Community Crossroads and said being on the Family Support Council has been a helpful experience. She noted it has helped her see the different ways families can be supported as well as how the system works.
The Family Support Council also makes an effort in funding activities for those served. These activities could range from horseback riding, the ability to attend a camp, or another interest that a child may have. Also included in what the Family Support Council provides is respite care, which is planned or temporary care for someone who is in need of a caregiver. Pappas said that while some may think that these types of funds are only available to those who are younger than 21, these forms of assistance are available to all as long as they still live at home.
The Family Support Department is the other aspect of Family Support that is necessary to help families in the way Community Crossroads does. These service coordinators help families to obtain respite care, assist for families in finding resources to learn more about educational advocacy and assistance with families when it comes to topics such as medicaid, guardianship and more.
With these two pieces in effect, families that are served in the community can have their lives improved for the better.
One of the five reasons the Family Support Council gives when it comes to joining the Community Crossroads Family Support Council is that they “make a positive difference for other families every day” and it certainly seems like that goal is forever being successfully accomplished.
The other four reasons include:
- The F.S.C. fulfills a very important role at Community Crossroads, helping guide family services assuring quality and satisfaction.
- 8/10 adults with disabilities live with a family member who looks to Community Crossroads for assistance in maximizing use of essential support resources.
- Family voices count. Families have always been the best advocates for needed services and supports, especially during times when state resources are limited.
- F.S.C. members have the opportunity to network with each other and participate in statewide training and conferences.
Pictured above: Colby Dudal, Aleece Pappas (Family Support Liaison), Laurie Giguere (Chairwoman of the Family Support Council)