“Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much.”Helen Keller
This issue of the weekly update is dedicated to Ironwood’s sense of community. Anyone who has skimmed Ironwood’s advertising campaigns will often hear of this community, but what exactly does it entail? Ironwood’s community is made up of all individuals who live or work on campus; these being residents and staff respectively. The backbone of our community is a give and take between these two groups. The residents provide acceptance and willingness. The staff in turn provides residents with therapeutic care and positive feedback. This mutual sense of purpose allows closer connection to be built and deeper relationships to be fostered. Ultimately, this leads to the peace of mind of staff, and the improved health and wellbeing of residents
The challenges involved in Ironwood’s community are easily outweighed by the benefits it provides. All residents are expected to sacrifice time and energy to improve their community. These improvements create a more efficient, trusting, and grateful atmosphere.
Every resident’s skills and interests are taken to their full advantage in determining how and when they are to benefit their community. This often involves individualized projects and expectations, equitable to the residents’ capabilities. This system allows a truly intimate understanding of residents and how best to motivate them. Often, residents are glad to be granted the opportunity to contribute to their community’s interests, and take initiative upon them to better it. This teaches them how to utilize their talents by contributing in constructive and selfless ways, which strengthen their connections at Ironwood and beyond.
All of these benefits exemplify why Ironwood’s community is so important to maintain. When that delicate balance is broken by residents, it is the job of staff to re-center the community around their core values. Usually through a process of delicate phrasing and communication, that best clarifies their positive intentions. Along with necessary constructive feedback to emphasize the residents’ role in their community; these life lessons carry over into the residents’ experiences, such as their family and other forms of community beyond Ironwood.
Ironwood’s strong and consistent sense of community sets up the daily lives of its residents and employees for success. Obligation, respect, and initiative are hallmarks of Ironwood’s program, and actively heighten the quality of its residents’ experience. These experiences will benefit them as they transition into adulthood and greater responsibilities.