As a part of Advent Conspiracy in late 2020, the Community Engagement Team at Dungeness Community Church was blessed to support Clallam Mosaic, a local non-profit that benefits individuals with special needs in our community. The following article, explains the history and the heart of Clallam Mosaic, from their humble roots in 1998 to their work in 2020 to help their community in the midst of a pandemic.
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Clallam Mosaic – 22 Years of Service
In 1998, four families came together in a living room wondering what would happen to their child when he/she graduated from high school. All of these parents had one thing in common; their child was a student with special needs. As they looked around the community at adults with special needs, they saw a bleak future. Their children seemed destined to sit at home with no activities to engage in other than watching TV. They were worried that their children would lose all of the hard-fought learning they had acquired through their school years. The future was scary!
As the group continued to meet and consult with others in the community, they envisioned an alternate solution. They created a set of meet-ups for individuals with special needs and their families - times when peers could get together, enjoy each other’s company, help each other with issues and generally build a growing, supportive community. This was the birth of Special Needs Advocacy Parents (SNAP), which became Clallam Mosaic in 2012.
Fast forward 22 years and Clallam Mosaic has become a key part of the spectrum of services available to individuals with developmental disabilities in Clallam County. Mosaic offers programs that focus on recreation, artistic expression (visual arts, theater, music, etc.), exercise, life skills, continued learning and so much more. Clallam Mosaic has also become a key source of support and information for families and care providers, initially through creating parent networks and subsequently by becoming the host for the county chapter of Parent to Parent. Clallam Mosaic fills a gap that no other local organization does.
Day Services Just As Important As Employment
Washington became an employment first state in 2012 (establishing parameters around employment as first priority for individuals with developmental disabilities, with option of alternative community access program. – Senate Bill 6384). However, a 2019 Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) report highlights how there is still a significant road to travel regarding employment for individuals with special needs. “Washington leads the nation in helping clients get jobs. However, few of them meet DDA’s objective of earning a living wage.”
In fact, for the majority of individuals who receive services from Washington’s DDA, employment represents less than 10% of their life. Nonetheless, prioritization of employment funding over all other forms of day services and engagement, has led to a deficit of funding for services that support other aspects of a full life for individuals with special needs. Clallam County is a leader in having an organization such as Clallam Mosaic in the community. Recognizing that a full life extends beyond employment, Clallam Mosaic creates opportunities for individuals with special needs to form community, recreate, build leadership skills, learn and grow together. Mosaic’s programs are non-exclusionary - individuals of all abilities and ages are welcome to engage in activities.
Mosaic through the Pandemic
During the pandemic, the value of Clallam Mosaic’s services has become even more apparent. While many communities struggled to support individuals with special needs (many of whom have underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk for severe outcomes following Covid infection), Clallam Mosaic continued to develop programs to engage this segment of our community. As a proof of success, individuals from outside of Clallam County began to engage in Clallam Mosaic’s newly launched virtual programs because their own counties had no such solution. Clallam Mosaic also developed paths to get individuals connected with technology so that their isolation was reduced. Mosaic provided one-on-one supports through phone calls, chats and video calls. Clallam Mosaic developed monthly care bag deliveries to the doorsteps of 70 to 80 individuals within Clallam County. Through collaborations with numerous businesses, partner agencies and individuals, Mosaic has sent home personal protective equipment, personal hygiene items, art/craft supplies, and more to individuals so that they feel connected and supported.
Join the Mosaic Community
Both before the pandemic and during the pandemic, Clallam Mosaic’s success is the result of committed staff, volunteers and board as well as the generosity of numerous donors. Clallam Mosaic is committed to ensuring that individuals with special needs, their families, and caregivers thrive and we hope that others in our community will join us in this vision.
There are numerous opportunities to volunteer, donate and support Clallam Mosaic. To learn more, the Clallam Mosaic website is a great place to start: www.cllallammosaic.org. To get questions answered, contact us at 360.681.8642 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Article Provided by Clallam Mosaic