What is Personal Development?
According to Wikipedia, personal development is a broad category that covers activities that improve awareness and identity, develop your talents and employability, aid in the realization of your dreams, and ultimately improve the quality of your life.
Who Do We Work With?
The program provides individual, couple and family support (through direct contact, virtually and by telephone) as well as group support through workshops. An outreach component allows staff members to provide support in the community.
The work of the personal development facilitator is an essential part of the comprehensive network of support provided by Acorn Family Place. Programs and services provided by the centre provide a solid foundation on which participants can build skills and awareness. Referrals within the centre contribute to a sense of belonging.
As a AFP program, a part of a family resource centre, we focus on bridging the gap between participant need and existing community services. Therefore, referrals to other community resources are an essential aspect of the program.
All program services are evaluated through participant feedback on a daily basis. This feedback, as well as statistical information, is tracked through a database. Analysis of the data helps to guide on-going program and staff development.
How We Work With You
- We’ll ask you about your situation and listen to your story. You’ll let us know what changes you want to make.
- We’ll work with you in making your plan for change.
- We’ll provide support while you carry out your plan safely and with accountability.
- We’ll support you in finding the information and community resources that you need.
- You decide how long you want to work with us – our program is not time-limited.
- Our services are offered free of charge.
Specifics of what the Personal Development Facilitator offers:
- Listening ear – Participants call or come in approximately once a week for a one to two hour appointment during which staff members simply listen actively. They also communicate by phone appointments. Drop-ins are also possible on Fridays.
- Accompaniment – Staff accompany participants to court, to meetings with lawyers, CFS, EIA, health care professionals, etc., to ensure that both parties are hearing one another, to facilitate communication.
- Documentation – Staff go over paperwork / documentation to ensure that all documents are clearly understood by the participant. Staff members work together with the participant to draft a history clarifying what has occurred in the past with a goal of clarifying the present situation and defining a forward path. Letters are written describing the work of the participant with the staff and assistance can be provided for participants wanting to write letters for various purposes of their own.
- Interpretation and Clarification – Staff members explain systemic procedures so that participants can better understand and evaluate their own response to the systems. This includes communication with people who work within the system in order to facilitate communication.
- Supported Referrals – When a participant is seeking a particular resource, we can track down possible sources and provide a list of these to the participant. It is important to ensure that the participant understands the process for accessing each resource, and that each resource is indeed offering services that match participant need.
- Group Connections – We draw together groups of key individuals such as family members, service providers, mandating agencies and others. Such gatherings serve to facilitate communication between the participant and the folks that surround them and help to provide a clear framework of support for the participant.
- Personal Development – When participants expresses a desire to make a change in their lives (behaviours, attitudes, beliefs), while acknowledging their responsibility for their own choices, staff facilitates a process by which the participant establishes a direction and seeks out supportive resources and then walks with the participant while they follow the path of their own choosing. Awareness of Stages of Change philosophy is used in understanding which strategies might be most supportive of the participant depending on where they are at.
- Supporting the individual to define where they are at and to choose the direction their work will take and the pace at which they will work.
- Working with the individual using a facilitation style which permits us to work on practical matters as well as more personal matters (advocacy and personal development together).
- Serving the whole family and anyone they identify as being integral to their family dynamic.
- Staying engaged over the long term as long as the participant voluntarily chooses to continue working with us.
- Providing the comprehensive backdrop of support created by the entirety of Acorn Family Place.
We operate according to five basic philosophical approaches: compassionate connection, recognition of stages of change, strength-based practice, participant-centered direction, and harm reduction. Each approach supports and is facilitated by the others. They guide all programming at AFP and set the foundation of respect and non-judgmental care provided to participants.
- Compassionate Connection: Before focusing on issues and processes of change, we first work to develop a compassionate connection with the participant. Based on an awareness and recognition that NR staff cares about them, each one as an individual, participants can move into a position of trust from which they can face their troubles more squarely and honestly.
- Stages of Change: NR recognizes that change happens gradually when a person is ready and that it generally follows a common course through pre-contemplative, contemplative, preparation, action, maintenance and termination with frequent recycling back to earlier stages. Providing this recognition and support for program participants encourages them to feel good about the small slow gains and to release guilt or regret about returning to earlier stages.
- Strength-Based Practice – Programs that focus on an identified problem behaviour and work to eliminate that behaviour can create a negative self concept and a sense of hopelessness. New Realities orients the focus to participant strengths and works to build upon and expand these strengths. In doing so, participants develop a more positive view of themselves and their capacities, enhancing hope for their future. This hope then fuels the desire for change towards this more positive future. Recognition and utilization of individual strengths builds self efficacy which encourages a sense that they can make the changes needed to reach this more positive future.
- Participant Centered – New Realities is participant-centered in its response to the individual’s specific needs. It works with people where they are, including their life circumstances, needs, and level of commitment to change. The program has an open door policy, allowing participants to access programming voluntarily and progress at their own pace. Participants identify their concerns and, with the support of NR, determine a course of action, moving forward to carry it out. When new variables arise, both participants and NR modify their process to accommodate the altered circumstances.
- Harm Reduction – Harm reduction encourages increasingly less harmful behaviours rather than complete abstention or immediate change. The ultimate goal is the cessation of the harmful behaviour, but the end point is achieved gradually rather than abruptly. Gradual reduction of harmful behaviours is less daunting to participants and thus less likely to create discouragement. It is less intimidating and fear-provoking to change a small part of an existing behaviour pattern than to stop the behaviour completely, especially when the behaviour has developed over a long period of time and may serve as a means of coping with stress, fears and trauma.
For further information about the New Realities program, please contact 204-560-3149.