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Through the one-on-one Community Habilitation support, Don is able to participate in his community again.

“I’m so excited!” When anyone asks Don Short about his newly approved Community Habilitation Services through the Community Partners Program, they are sure to hear that response.  “I feel like I am in an ABC Sunday Night Movie!”

Don loves to meet new people and try new things in the community.  His sense of humor is unparalleled and he loves to reminisce about old friends and family.  Don grew up in the South Hills of Pittsburgh and lived with his family until he was in his thirties.  Wanting to become more independent, Don began to explore different options and decided to move into to one of CLASS’ Residential Apartments.  Almost 20 years ago now, Don began to experience life in a different way than he had before.  He could go to his favorite places such as concerts, musicals, and church carnivals independently without asking or confirming with his family members.

In the past few years, Don has faced some challenges with his health and has not been able to be as active in the community as he once was.  Don wanted to reconnect with his community, wishing to experience new places and catch up with friends and family, but needed one-on-one support to do so.  When CLASS became a provider for Community Habilitation, Community Partners knew Don was the perfect candidate for services.

Don was matched with Community Habilitation Aid, Christina, through the Community Partners Program.  Community Partners offers support in a partnership model, allowing individuals to play a role in managing their support.  Through the partnerships, individuals and their Community Partner set specific goals to meet their needs, develop strategies to meet these goals, and work toward them.  Through the partnership, individual’s play a role in their own success by managing their own support.  Christina and Don developed a planner to use as a guide while preparing for community activities.  The planner helps Don to outline all of the steps necessary to be organized with his week, including the activity, costs associated with the activity, and transportation needs.

In less than one month of working with Christina, Don visited twelve new places, which included the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, The Rivers Casino, Phipps Conservatory, riding the Pittsburgh Incline, and taking the Subway around Pittsburgh.  All were activities that Don thought he would not be able to participate in due to his health needs. Of all of his accomplishments, Don was eager to tell staff that he was able to play the slot machines at the casino without assistance.

Through the one-on-one Community Habilitation support, Don is able to participate in his community again.    As part of his next goal, Don and Christina are exploring volunteer opportunities and social groups for Don.  Together, they are discussing his interests and creating a list of places to visit and explore what each place has to offer.  Don hopes to get involved with a volunteer position or social group that he can truly participate in and can build meaningful relationships.  Through Community Partners, Don will be given the tools to do so.

Community Partners is a program at CLASS that offers a variety of one-on-one services including, but not limited to case management, life skills training, community integration, and community habilitation.  For more information, contact Char Raynovich at 412.683.7100 ext. 2245 or