In 1992, a small group of people were discharged from a state institution as part of a downsizing effort in Washington State.
To many, this group of people were considered a test case on the validity of community supports. Half of this group consisted of people with significant medical needs, while the other half consisted of people with significant behavioral support needs. Many professionals at the institution predicted failure within the first three months. Now, years later, those same people continue to live and work in communities.
Triumphant in the 1990’s , 25 Years later a new need has grown.
With continued budget cuts and community mental healthcare stretched beyond its capacity we find a dangerous trend, housing our most vulnerable citizens in our jails waiting for proper mental healthcare and proper housing.
Presently supports to people with intellectual disabilities in Washington has fallen into a gap. We find in our own county a lack of services that borders on criminal. As the very programs that serve those of obvious need and developmentally disabled are crowded they do exist.
For those less obvious, who seem easily swept aside as nuisance, or not disabled enough to to be considered for the standard mental healthcare allowances, a bridge service is needed. The Bridge of Life programs are always seeking new and innovative ways to support people. It is our belief that we will find the most success in just letting people direct their own lives while having solid support in a home environment supervised by qualified compassionate staff.
Standing on the edge, creation of a new adventure can be a formitable leap of faith. Yet I am
Iam not alone, as my spirit so full lifts me with each breath, as in my child like dreams of flying higher and higher with every gulping bellow, breezy gusts wisp me on my way, with some purpose I knew not what in my dream but now I have Gods eyes!
Its this….reaching for the Love of all…..it’s called many names this one is my current muss……..Ubuntu ……..”
A person is a person through other people’ strikes an affirmation of one’s humanity through recognition of an ‘other’ in his or her uniqueness and difference. It is a demand for a creative intersubjective formation in which the ‘other’ becomes a mirror (but only a mirror) for my subjectivity. This idealism suggests to us that humanity is not embedded in my person solely as an individual; my humanity is co-substantively bestowed upon the other and me. Humanity is a quality we owe to each other. We create each other and need to sustain this otherness creation. And if we belong to each other, we participate in our creations: we are because you are, and since you are, definitely I am. The ‘I am’ is not a rigid subject, but a dynamic self-constitution dependent on this otherness creation of relation and distance”.[9b
Tim Jackson’s Economic Reality Check”. Speech. TED. Retrieved 2010-12-09.
In the emergence of community care, The Bridges of Life is built on the recognition of the ability of individuals with intellectual disabilities to welcome and accept others as they are.
We believe that this gift has an important and transformative effect, helping each one of us to become more fully human and thus helping to humanize our entire society.
We truly think that to influence in such a way the life of others, confers on people with all types of disabilities the status of citizens who contribute to make our society a better place to live.
Who are we?
– The Bridges of Life soon to be an international organization of all inclusive faith-based communities creating homes and day programs with people who have intellectual disabilities.
– As a service organization, The Bridges of Life espouses a “community model” of living, rather than a medical or social service model of care.
– As a faith-based organization The Bridges of Life recognizes the spiritual and religious needs and aspirations of its members, and respects those who have no spiritual or religious affiliation. Our community and faith life inspire us to be open to people of differing intellectual capacity, social origin,religion, race, and culture.
– The Bridges of Life, people with disabilities and those who assist them, live together and are equally responsible for the life of their home and community.