What is People with Disabilities Succeeding
PDS is an Integrated Work and Community Inclusion Agency. Our main emphasis is on employment. We help people to obtain and maintain real jobs in local businesses. We strictly look for employment where clients will be directly hired by businesses and receive at least minimum wage. We do not accept subcontracted or enclave work. Clients work in volunteer jobs when paid employment is unavailable. We provide an Employment Support Facilitator to help people at work if they need it or just to check in with them daily if they are fairly independent.
In contrast to Supported Employment Programs which offer support only in terms of work, we also offer our clients support in everyday activities like taking the bus, going to the bank, budgeting money, ordering and eating in restaurants, going to the library, post office, etc. Furthermore, we give assistance to people in recreation and leisure activities like aerobics, swimming, weight lifting at local gyms or fitness centers, regular community college classes, hiking, or whatever else people are interested in. We teach people domestic skills if they need to learn how to shop, cook, or do chores. We help our clients make friends with people without disabilities if they want to and help them arrange and participate in social activities.
Lastly, we work with consumers to teach them their rights and support them to stand up for themselves and speak up. We believe that all people can be productive, contributing members of society given enough support. We promote respect, dignity and inclusion of everyone regardless of disability. We facilitate interactions and encourage relationships between individuals with and without disabilities within all of the environments that we participate in.
Where is PDS Located?
The PDS office is close to the post office on the main street in San Anselmo. There is usually 2 hour street parking and lots of great shops and restaurants nearby. It's in a safe area close to public transportation and walking distance from three of our clients' homes and the jobsite of one of our clients.
What is the Staff to Client Ratio?
Our ratio is usually one staff member to every two or three clients. More independent clients work individually (not in a group) at a job and may choose either to participate in community activities on their own or to meet up with other clients for community, recreational or social activities. The highest staff to client ratio at any time would be 1:3. We do provide some 1:1 instruction when necessary and possible.
What About Transportation?
Some clients take the bus to meet a group (if they are part of one) at a bus stop or a central location like a mall or restaurant or store. Some clients walk from home to meet up with a group. Other clients get a ride from their parents or use Whistlestop paratransit services. Most of our clients rely on PDS to provide whatever transportation is necessary for them to get to and from all activities throughout the day.
Do the Clients Follow Schedules? How Do You Keep Track of the Staff and the Clients?
All clients have input into their daily and weekly schedules. For clients that are part of a group, decisions about what to do are made democratically and are based upon everyone's choices and preferences. All staff and client schedules are typed in detail to proved structure, consistency, and accountability. All staff and an increasing number of clients carry cell phones. If a client or a staff person needs assistance or there's a problem, they call a PDS administrator. Any schedule changes due to weather or other circumstances are called in to the PDS office.
How is PDS Funded?
People with Disabilities Succeeding is vendorized by Golden Gate Regional Center (GGRC), which receives funding from the State Department of Developmental Services. We are funded on a day rate for each day that each individual receives services.However, it costs more to effectively implement the PDS model than site-based programs because of the community employment component. Grants and individual contributions fund the financial gap between standard program costs and the PDS “way.”
How Many Hours of Support Does PDS Offer?
PDS is funded to provide 6 hours of support per day, 5 days per week. If a client needs intensive support and supervision, a PDS staff member throughout the 6 hours per day accompanies them. If a client is more independent, we may not actually need to be physically present with the person for all 6 hours of every day, but we are responsible to make sure that person has something productive to do and the client is accountable to us during that time. Our support is ongoing, whether the person is currently employed or not. This kind of consistent support is beneficial for individuals who have difficulties in organizing their time and keeping busy when they are in between jobs or have limited hours at work. Often this is also reassuring to family members and home support staff who worry about unemployed people being alone in the community or their homes without someone to help them to schedule activities.
Who is Eligible?
To be eligible for PDS, a person must be 18 years of age or older and must be a client of Golden Gate Regional Center.
What is the Entrance Criteria?
PDS works with clients who have a wide variety of needs and varying degrees of disabilities ranging from mild learning or physical disabilities to people with severe mental retardation, physical disabilities, sensory impairment, autism and communication disorders. Our only criterion is that people with disabilities have a desire to be integrated with non-disabled people and have motivation to work with our support. Depending on the opening we have, we consider clients that would maintain heterogeneous groupings. For "individual placements" (those clients who will work semi-independently) we take people who don't need intensive staff support. We make decisions about who to accept on a case-by-case basis.
How Do Clients Get Referred?
A teacher, parent, caregiver or consumer should call the consumer's case manager at GGRC and let them know that they want to have a "referral packet" of information about the person sent to PDS. It is also advised that they call the Executive Director at PDS, Lisa Markey Giraldi, to let her know they're interested. Openings are few and far between but spaces do open periodically and it's helpful to have the clients “referral packet” from the GGRC case manager on file.