New Directions, Inc. recognizes that unpaid relationships are fundamental in a fulfilling life and have positive impacts to the physical and mental health of a person. As such, we assist and encourage people to build and maintain personal relationships. When people we serve are connected to a community, they are recognized for their strengths and can make positive contributions.
We talk about people's strengths and where those strengths would be appreciated. We talk about about people's interests and how they can connect with others over those interests. We talk about how we can bring community into the lives of the people we serve. As a guide, we use Dr. Angela Amado's Workbook, "Friends: Connecting People with Disabilities and Community Members" published by the University of Minnesota's Research and Training Center on Community Living.
We have helped people connect through various different groups and organizations. Here are just some examples:
everyone has the right to continually experience and maintain: personal well-being; engagement in their interests inside and outside of their home; satisfying personal relationships; and participation and contribution to community life.