Using the power of relationship to create new opportunities
LEAD (Literacy and Education for Adults with Disabilities), a partnership between Kokua, The Evergreen State College and now St. Martin’s University, is now in its sixth year and continues to attract new learners. LEAD pairs college students with learners with developmental disabilities for weekly one-on-one tutoring sessions based upon each learner’s individual goals and interests. We have found that both learners and tutors gain confidence and increased interpersonal skills through their LEAD participation, and the relationships nurtured transcend academics. This past year, 13 learners were paired with volunteer college tutors, and we hope to expand LEAD as our resources and volunteer base grow.
Kokua would like to thank two community partners who have played strong roles in making LEAD so successful. Ellen Shortt-Sanchez, the Director of Evergreen’s Center for Community-Based Leaning and Action, has been an invaluable catalyst. Right from the beginning of our collaboration, Ellen has been committed to helping this partnership flourish.
We’d also like to thank Dr. Nancie Payne, an internationally-renowned specialists in the area of cognitive and non-apparent disorders, who has also enriched the LEAD experience for the volunteer tutors by providing professional tutor training and mentoring support.
We’re also extremely grateful for the ongoing support of the amazing Lacey Sunrise Lions! The Lacey Sunrise Lions have been a long-standing supporter of Kokua. They have built numerous wheelchair ramps, and painted and cleaned houses and yards for those who needed assistance. Through the Lions’ generosity and talents, numerous Kokua clients have gained greater independence and safe, accessible access to their homes.
Kokua is very grateful for our partnership with our friends down the street at Pope John Paul II High School. The wonderful staff and students have volunteered their time and energy to help our community with fundraisers, parties, art class, yard cleanups, and yearly holiday caroling. It’s a joy to see intergenerational support and kindness in action!
Our sincerest of Thanksgiving thanks go to Pastor Brian Wiele and River Ridge Covenant Church for the annual Thanksgiving Day event they generously hold for the Kokua community. It is always a day of happiness that includes delicious food, music, dance, games and creating connections with friends, both old and new. Parishioners devote their day to ensuring Kokua clients feel a part of their greater community, and we are so grateful for their caring and welcoming efforts.
Kokua is a long-standing member of South Sound Partners for Philanthropy. SSPfP is a consortium of more than 40 South Sound non-profit organizations dedicated to the promotion of philanthropic efforts in Thurston, Mason, Lewis, Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties. The goal of this group is to work collaboratively to increase the awareness of local needs and the vital role that giving locally plays in the success and health of our community. We are grateful for the deep connections to our community and grateful to work closely with so many amazing non-profit organizations.
We are proud of our long history as a state-contracted provider of Supported Living Services through the Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA). The DDA strives to develop and implement public policies that will promote individual worth, self-respect, and dignity such that each individual is valued as a contributing member of the community. The Residential Service Guidelines, first issued in 1988, and the County Guidelines, first issued in 1992, continue to support the Department’s vision, mission, and core values. Both sets of guidelines were developed by a workgroup made up of consumers and their families, residential service providers, counties and employment providers, advocates and administration staff.