The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, “The only constant in life is change.” While this quote has been a popular sentiment for many throughout the year 2020, it has been especially relevant (and heard often) in the halls of Lighthouse. With the COVID-19 positivity rates for Lancaster County climbing rapidly, Lighthouse made the difficult decision to close its facility. Though the building may be quiet, Lighthouse is still being sufficiently represented in the community, as programs like Small Group Employment, Supported Employment, Community Participation Supports, remote services, and in-home services begin to expand to meet the demand and increasing interest from Lighthouse participants and their families.
In times like these, when change appears to be the only constant we can expect, Lighthouse participants engaging in community-based programs are finding ways to remain thankful. Two factors participants are especially grateful for during this time are the opportunities to discover their interests, and to connect with other community members all over Lancaster County.
Though the Lighthouse facility may be temporarily closed, participants receiving Small Group Employment (SGE) services appreciate feeling welcomed while working at various businesses in the community where they can continue to hone their talents and grow their knowledge of different tasks. An ever-popular job site for participants is completing assembly work at Levi’s Building Components in Leola. “I like the medium-paced work of the feeder machine,” says Linda S. Timothy Z. agrees. “I like working with the machine, too.” Christopher B. adds, “I like that Levi’s is a fast work day. I like being in a shop setting.”
*Christopher B. at Levi's Building Components
*Valerie B. at Crossfit Uncompromised
*Cassandra F. at Crossfit Uncompromised
Another SGE site where participants can complete tasks they enjoy is CrossFit Uncompromised in Lancaster. According to Cassandra F., “Cleaning showers at CrossFit is something I like because I do it at home, too.” Says Valerie B., “I like to clean the exercise equipment at CrossFit.” While Alejo B. has cleaned at a number of SGE job sites, he remarks, “I like vacuuming at CrossFit!”
Participants receiving Community Participation Supports (CPS) services have continued to engage in community outings with staff a few times each week. Community outings take place throughout the county including:
Park City Mall
That Fish/Pet Place
Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area
Staff are actively focusing on participants’ interests and including them in the decision-making process as they embrace all Lancaster County has to offer. Says Marissa E., “I like looking around [when I go out for CPS].” Rocky L. also enjoys getting some fresh air and exploring the area. “It’s awesome!”
*Marissa E. at Frysville Farms
*Rocky L. at Frysville Farms
Aside from tapping into their potential at SGE work sites and exploring their interests through CPS outings, participants also find it vital to maintain connection with not just their peers, but other members of the community. Says Linda S., “I really enjoy being around the Levi’s staff. They are easy going and have a sense of humor.” Participants volunteering at CPS volunteer sites also enjoy the connections they make with the staff. “[When volunteering at Ephrata Area Social Services] I like seeing people and saying hi to them.” Yen H., who also enjoys volunteering at Ephrata Area Social Services, says, “I like sorting through clothes and helping people.”
As 2020 draws to a close, let us follow the example of Lighthouse participants in embracing another “constant” – appreciating our blessings in an attitude of gratitude!
~Eileen Campbell - Associate Coordinator of Employment & Community Services