The Department of Developmental Services (DDS) “Healthy Relationships” curriculum was the focus of three day training in October. DDS employees from around the state participated in the training to promote healthy relationships for all consumers.
Planned Parenthood of Southern New England Educators, lead by Erin Livensparger, teamed up with DDS Self Advocate Coordinators to teach the course which was written by, for, and with individuals with intellectual disabilities. DDS staff were trained in three days what is normally a six session series for consumers. They completed the Referral Form which helps individuals understand what will be covered in the curriculum and identifies a person that an individual would want to accompany them to the first training. In order for a consumer to participate in the series, they must complete a packet of information which is confidential and only used to gain an understanding of the person’s perspective on relationships. It assures that participants know the training will be covering all aspects of relationships.
The six session Healthy Relationship Series helps individuals understand how to have safe, meaningful and empowering relationships. During the first session of each series, each participant is asked to have one support person or family member join them. This allows the support person to receive an overview of the training and be supportive to the consumer throughout the series. The remaining five sessions are for the consumers only to ensure a safe environment to understand healthy relationships.
DDS staff from Self Determination, Individual and Family Support, Private, and Public divisions, who attended the training, are expected to be ambassadors for the Healthy Relationship Series. They will help support the DDS Self Advocate Coordinators in promoting the Series and will be available to any consumer participants, families or DDS staff for questions. Other Informational support and guidance is also provided by Beth Aura Miller and Greg McMahan, Self Determination Directors.
The following individuals attended the three day series and are ambassadors for supporting our Mission and Vision of having safe, meaningful, and empowering relationships by supporting and promoting the Healthy Relationship Series for everyone.
The following attended the training; North Region; Elisa Marcoux, Valencia L Bagby-Young, Kathy Lewis, James Carta, Patricia West, Amy Blazawski, South Region; Cathrine Veroneau, Kerry Pettes, Donna Franchini-Sparago, Patty Grant, Sue Wilbur, Ada Johnson, West Region; Dena Pierce, Sandi Geer, Donna Samperi, Duane Dyer, Susan Jason, Ralph Hummel, STS; Regina Boccardi and Kim Vernon and DDS Self Advocate Coordinators; Carlos Colon, Carol Grabbe, Genna Lewis, Jamar Cherry, Jamie Louchen, Jeffery Shimkevich, Jossie Torres, Latasha Linwood, Sarah Liebeskind, Varian Salters