Our Journey with Charting the LifeCourse

Sign that says, "This Way to the Good Life" Charting the LifeCourse

The Charting the LifeCourse framework is driven by the core belief that “all people have the right to live, love, work, play and pursue their life aspirations.” Charting the LifeCourse is designed to be used in our own life, for our family members, and in the work we do. The framework and tools help to organize ideas, vision, and goals, as well as problem-solve, navigate, and advocate for supports.

Values Into Action is on a journey to adopt the Charting the LifeCourse (CtLC) framework. It began last year when we were approved for funding through the American Rescue Plan Act to bring the framework to our community. We revealed our plan to adopt the framework at last year’s Virtual Partnership Week. Then, the next week, we began the Foundational Skill Building series. All our employees were asked to attend. People using our services were encouraged to attend with their staff if they were willing and able. Most recently, we completed an Ambassador’s series. In it, 16 members of our community were trained as CtLC Ambassador’s. Included was a person using our services, Support Partners, Supports Brokers, Housing Resource Specialists, and others in coordination and leadership roles. Now, our Ambassadors and Executive Team are collaborating to create our strategic implementation plan.

We see the value of the framework and tools in our work with one another and in our individual lives. We wanted to share our excitement with, and learn from others on this journey. We submitted a proposal and were invited to present a breakout session at the CtLC Showcase in Kansas City. Several of us attended and presented in person and a few more shared their experience through video recordings. We were partnered with Syard Evans, CEO of Arkansas Support Network. Together, we shared how CtLC centers the person, their experience, and their aspirations. We shared what we have learned so far, how we are already using the tools, and how we aspire to use them.

Here are a few videos from our presentation:

Allan, a self-advocate receiving our In Home and Community Services, shares how he will use the knowledge he gained from the Ambassador series to educate others about the tools and his life.
Dorinda, Associate Director of our Residential Team, shares how the framework will be used to help a person coming into our services to honor his past and design his future.
Annie, a Support Partner from our In Home and Community Support team, speaks about what she learned in the Ambassadors series and how she plans to use the framework in her support of others.

Our Experience at the Showcase

Jennifer Smith, Patrick Snyder, and Sharmen Clark joined me in Kansas City to attend the Showcase and present on behalf of Values Into Action. We attended sessions and learned from others. We met over lunch to prepare for our presentation. Together, we explored Kansas City. It was a blast to spend time together, learning and discussing our budding ideas and aspirations! I asked them to share about their experience at the Showcase.

Jennifer Smith, Supports Broker, shared:

As far as my experience at the showcase; more than anything it was reassuring to see that the vast majority of attendees who shared during workshops had similar experiences and questions.  Many people share the feeling that the framework is valuable, it works, it helps – but are working through how to find broader buy-in or implementation approaches that feel meaningful as opposed to just “tasks” or “worksheets.”  The most rewarding session I attended was Building Personal Networks.  During this session one of the facilitators shared how she developed Good Life Groups for community members.  These groups were shaped around the principles and framework but weren’t “tool” focused.  This approach helped her to generate buy-in without making anyone feel like they were being asked to “do homework.” My experience contributing to the workshop presentation was a test in stepping outside my comfort zone and pushing through psychological barriers.  The best part of the presentation experience was learning that I was not alone in feeling anxious and nervous- spending time with my collaborators was tremendously reassuring and helpful.

Sharmen Clark, Community Support Facilitator, shared:

I can’t speak enough about the amazing time I had at the conference.  I thoroughly enjoyed the time we spent, even during our down time, brainstorming and thinking of innovative, creative ways to implement this framework across the board with the people we support and support partners.  I also enjoyed learning more about the specific ways other teams, such as in home and community and Support Brokers operate and how they, too, plan to implement the framework.  Presenting with my colleagues was probably one of my biggest personal takeaways. It demonstrated how although we work in different services/teams, our overarching goals are the same in how we approach support, but from varying perspectives.  After listening to the other organizations and presenters, I am EXCITED about us joining this movement and very optimistic that we will continue to do well in the work we do. Now, with more intentional and specific person-centered goals at the forefront of our service!  The excitement we all share is truly contagious and I look forward to engaging our support partners in this excitement as well!!

Patrick Snyder, Community Support Facilitator, shared:

I found the CtLC Conference to be a great opportunity to learn more about the tools that we will be using. Also, to find innovative ways to apply them that I hadn’t previously considered. I found presenting to be a major stepping stone in my professional development. I had not only never traveled for work in the past, but I’ve also never had to present for work in front of an audience of people I didn’t know. For me, any nerves I might’ve had dissipated when I told myself that this was a good opportunity to tell people what Values Into Action is all about. Also, to demonstrate how we work every day with the people we support to ensure that they are living the lives of their choosing. I’m happy to have gone into the conference with a good understanding of how we can utilize CtLC organization wide, but I’m even happier to say that I left the conference with many new ideas, suggestions and viewpoints for how we can assure that CtLC will be understood and applied by everyone here at Values!

We also got to spend time with our colleague, Christina Rappisi, Director of Support Coordination with Values Into Action, NJ. Christina presented on the use of the CtLC framework to help a person design their life.

Here’s a highlight video of our time together in Kansas City:

It has been a journey of exploration and learning. We have come far and have a way to go until we have fully adopted the framework. We look forward to sharing more about what we are learning with our stakeholders. We are excited to work collaboratively to put the tools into practice. Stay tuned for more information on our implementation plan soon. For now, we encourage exploration of the CtLC website.