Qlarant Foundation Welcomes New Grantee Ardmore Enterprises
As part of our 2023 grant cycle, we welcome first-time grantee, Ardmore Enterprises. The $20,000 Qlarant Foundation grant is provided to the Prince George’s County, Maryland organization which has a mission to empower people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Ardmore Enterprises believes each person should determine the direction of his or her life. They provide support in a safe environment while empowering people to acquire the skills to make responsible choices, enjoy maximum self-sufficiency, and experience full community participation.
The grant will support Ardmore’s Community Engagement Fund which addresses the social determinants of health that cause barriers to community access and inclusion, thereby reducing social isolation in persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). In its grant application, Ardmore indicated that social inclusion is a vital domain of quality of life. It is essential, but people with IDD experience barriers that limit social inclusion.
While many individuals with IDD experience physical inclusion in their community, social inclusion is often lacking. Their social networks consist primarily of paid staff or professionals and other people with disabilities. Many live, work, and spend their leisure time only with others with disabilities or those hand-selected and “approved” by family members. Research suggests that a person experiences social inclusion when they have a choice and a sense of belonging and acceptance. They have a valued role in the community and are involved in activities based on their personal preferences. They have social relationships with people of their choosing.
The overarching goal of this project is to bridge the divide between the “disability” world and the “community” world. Many people with IDD are isolated and lack meaningful opportunities to participate in and develop social networks within their communities. Sharing membership with a community that fosters connection and belonging is essential to mental, physical, and emotional well-being.
Through the Community Engagement Fund, Ardmore directly addresses community and societal determinates. This includes both social support and community participation, with the goal of reducing social isolation in persons with IDD, by creating pathways for each individual. These pathways allow the person to obtain and maintain meaningful employment, develop strong interpersonal and community-based relationships, and engage in recreational, leisure and volunteer activities that match their interests and choices.
To accomplish this, the funds garnered from this grant will allow Ardmore to hire a consultant who will train Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) on the process of community mapping, which is an interactive process that uncovers and maps the ‘assets’—places and spaces that the people supported feel included and welcome in their community.
Funds from this grant will also:
- Provide a stipend for the individuals in the program to navigate their community and work with their support staff to identify community assets and engage in a variety of activities.
- Allow for procuring Scribble Maps software, where a community-wide asset map will be built and shared with those in the Ardmore community, including partner organizations, to facilitate wider community integration and engagement.
This program has a direct focus on consumer-centered care and decision-making. Ardmore’s focus is person-centered. This means that all support is guided by what the person wants out of life and that services are structured to make this possible. Ardmore remains committed to helping people identify the type of support and services that will make a difference, giving each individual greater choice and control over their life.