Getting to Know You
Listening to the needs of individuals and helping empower their growth is at the heart of our mission. A participant in our sewing department approached the Director of Programs and Services and mentioned that he wanted to know more about the staff. He continued, “the staff knows all about the participants, but we don’t know much about the staff.” He added that he wanted to know more about his peers that are in other areas of the building, also.
What a great idea! A meeting was planned between the Director of Programs and Services, Elizabeth and the inquiring participant, Alex. In this meeting, they planned out questions that would be appropriate to ask the staff members and other members of the program.
Using their own meeting as a model for this interaction, as they would be the first staff and first client to be interviewed. Then the client picked 2 staff and 2 peers to interview. In the meeting, they reviewed how to ask questions using interview skills, such as not interrupting, listening and how to develop follow-up questions. Then the team decided on 4 questions that everyone could answer and developed a form to write in the answers during the interview.
They went to the other areas and sat with the other people in the program one at a time. Of course, making sure the other person would grant permission and be a willing interviewee, they proceeded with the interview. And did the same with the staff member. And did the same with the staff member. Alex led the interviews with a little intervention, only as needed.
Thanks to Alex, the interview is now an activity The Douglas Center will do a few times a month and program participants can learn more about the staff and their peers, not to mention interacting and interviewing skills.The participants practice social and conversational skills while also practicing patience. Getting to know each other in the process. The interview answer forms are posted on the bulletin board near the lunch room so that everyone could see the answers and has sparked even more interesting conversations about participating.
What a great idea and a perfect example of how the participants engage in their own growth. Alex had the courage to present an idea to the staff and they followed through with a solution.