3 Ways Life Sharing Helps To Build Better Communities

Our communities are better when we’re inclusive and welcoming to others who are different from us. When you welcome an individual with disabilities as part of a Life Sharing program, you not only help someone find their place, but help your community as well.

Life Sharing is a residential program for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, where they live in the community with a host family that has been licensed and vetted. These individuals and their host families receive support from health care providers and coordinators, so they can have the best experience possible. Life Sharing offers a unique opportunity to share responsibilities, successes, and challenges that occur in the course of normal day-to-day family life.

The community is like an extension of your family, and they’ll need to embrace your Life Sharing companion too. With that said, Life Sharing is a reciprocal relationship — your community will get just as much out of the experience as the individual it welcomes.

#1: Acceptance

Learning to accept others for who they are and putting aside stereotypes can be a challenge. However, when you participate in a Life Sharing program, you’re going to push the limits of what your community thinks individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are capable of on a daily basis. Whether it’s working a part-time job or going to college, you’ll learn that your expectations and bias will be blown away by what an individual with a disability can achieve.

Better yet, your community will be along for this new realization through the Life Sharing program. They’ll discover that what they believed is outdated and limiting, and they will develop a whole new perspective.

#2: Patience

Even though individuals with disabilities can achieve amazing things, they can sometimes take longer to grasp details or may have many questions. Their curiosity can know no bounds. You’ll learn to be patient in your everyday life, and see the wonder in the eyes of your Life Sharing companion. Your patience will be tested, but it will also expand further than you believed possible.

Just like your patience, your community’s patience will be tested. They’ll need to accept that not everyone learns at the same pace or in the same way. However, the reward will be amazing as they help your Life Sharing companion reach their fullest potential.

#3: Love

The ability to love is one of the greatest gifts of an individual with intellectual or developmental disabilities. They accept each person for who they are and love those who treat them with respect. Through the Life Sharing program, you’ll not only earn the love of your companion, but you’ll also learn to love them for who they are and their capabilities. Through the everyday wonder they exude and their excitement for life, you’ll come to love their uniqueness.

Your community will also have the amazing opportunity to experience this love as they come to accept and understand your companion. Their ability to love those who accept and respect them doesn’t end with you, but extends to the entire family.

For more information on Life Sharing through Raystown Developmental Services and The ReDCo Group, and to inquire about becoming a host family, contact Pathways of Pennsylvania.

Pathways is one of the largest national providers of accessible, outcome-based behavioral and mental health services. Pathways of Pennsylvania has been serving communities in Pennsylvania since 1981, and is comprised of four companies: Children’s Behavioral Health, Inc., Pathways Community Services, LLC, Raystown Developmental Services, Inc., and The ReDCo Group, Inc. We believe every individual has a right to lead a meaningful and positive life, and we are changing lives, one day at a time.