Empowerment is a big word and well, it should be. It is the cornerstone of case management or ‘service partnerships,’ as we like to say here at The Caring Place. We partner with our neighbors when their basic needs are not being met over time, impacting their quality of life. The partnership is rich in engaged sharing, learning, testing new resources, planning for future needs, collaborating with local service providers and advocating for oneself and others. Here at The Caring Place we introduced a new service partnership in April for folks sixty five and older. We call it SIP – Senior Independence Program. Pour yourself up a cup of coffee or a cold sweet lemonade and take a listen to a story about how one neighbor was empowered through a service partnership!
On April 30, Raymond Taylor entered the doors of The Caring Place. He came with a sense of urgency and a great many needs both health and material. His walk was unstable and his voice was a mere whisper due to his heart condition and the many medications he was taking. He explained that he’d been living with a relative in Temple over the last year as he recovered from a triple bypass, and only recently relocated to his hometown of Bartlett. He had a home he was renting from a relative. We quickly learned that Mr. Taylor was a man of grit and determination. His presenting need was to get his utilities in his own name so he could resume participation in the Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program (CEAP), a state benefit program. The program provides six to eight months of utility assistance to income eligible households. Mr. Taylor was preparing for summer utilities. He further explained, “I need a refrigerator, a stove, a washer, a dryer and I want to get my house painted.” Seeing the effort it took for Mr. Taylor to make a 48 mile round trip to reach out for help with his well-thought-out list of needs and then follow it up with a dollop of ambition…”I want to get my house painted,” well, all I can say was the grit and determination this man carried was as real as a Clydesdale in a small town parade!
The unique and strategic business model of The Caring Place allows clients to benefit directly from some amazing donations through our supportive community. In this case, Mr. Taylor had to wait a couple of weeks for a standard refrigerator, however he immediately took home a mini fridge as an interim solution to store his medications and a small amount of food. It took many weeks to receive a stove, but our staff at The Caring Place had Mr. Taylor’s name on it the moment the donation came in. Mr. Taylor will attest that The Caring Place has a strong team of diverse staff working hard together on the mission to respond to the basic human needs of our clients.
Over the course of two and a half months, Mr. Taylor has provided numerous documents and countless hours completing applications and making calls with his case manager. He led others in need to The Caring Place and has been a beacon of light, hope and ambition to all who meet him. This, my friend, is empowerment- the sense of confidence that one has power to navigate life even during turbulent times.