The Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities has selected four organizations to join the Building Full Lives initiative in 2018. These organizations are: RCS Empowers, Paragon Community Services, Ventures Unlimited, and Opportunity Center of Crawford County.

The Board is providing technical assistance to help organizations shift their business models from segregated to fully integrated services that are individualized, full of choices, and built around the dreams and aspirations of individuals.
Building Full Lives in the community means creating opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) (including individuals with diverse identities and/or who are underserved), to have lives that include:

  • Respect: People are respected and valued by others in the community, not just paid staff.
  • Community participation: People are involved in a growing network of relationships; this is a relationship network beyond paid staff and disability professionals.
  • Competent Contribution: People are assisted to understand their gifts, talents, knowledge, and abilities; and to use these personal assets to make a living through work, and give back to others.
  • Choice: People are assisted to make as many choices about their day as possible, including both small choices (e.g. what to wear) and big choices (e.g. where to work)

One key feature of a Full Life is involvement in a diverse community, where people are engaged in the same activities that others who live in the same community engage in. For working-age adults; this has led to a strong connection between Full Days and participation in integrated employment. As Employment First grows across the country, efforts to promote and support Full Lives have come to embrace participation in integrated employment as the anchor of a meaningful day.

These four organizations were chosen from a pool of 13 applicants. They will join the other eight organizations already actively participating in the Building Full Live’s initiative to transform their services to provide more opportunities for people to have jobs and meaningful community involvement.