Six Langley families have banded together with a vision: to give their children with disabilities a strong purpose in life.
Quantum Leap is a community inclusion service that has been in the works for almost two years. The newly formed service focuses on continual learning, paid part time employment, and volunteer jobs.
The six participants, whose challenges range from autism to global developmental delay, work on individual goals within the group.
What separates Quantum Leap from traditional day programs is that it relies heavily on a “co-management approach to service design,” explained Daile Hawley from the Parents of Quantum Leap Youth.
“The families created a Mission Statement for Quantum Leap, and have created very strong ties to help each individual be successful within the group,” Hawley added.
The focus this summer has been on learning to ride public transit independently so the group has been taking bus trips with staff within Langley. As well, they have done art projects, and they are working on life skills such as learning grocery shopping skills and banking skills, Hawley said.
“They have been planning and cooking meals in their kitchen and learning cleaning skills in their space,” she added. “Everything they do has a learning component that comes back to their individual goals that they are working on.”
As well, Quantum Leap has participated in local evening events; the Boys of Fall Concert and the outdoor movie night at LEC.
Hawley, whose daughter Leah, 21, is in the program, shared how Quantum Leap was born.
“When our sons and daughters with disabilities were about to graduate from secondary school, we parents came to the abrupt realization that even though they qualified for adult services from Community Living BC, there could be a delay due to the increasing need for services in Langley.”
“What they need is to be out with their peers, gaining skills, being engaged in their community and working on life skills to work towards paid employment,” Hawley said.
After pondering for a few months, the group of parents moved into action. The six families, some of whom have known each other for almost 20 years, gathered with a vision to make a great life for their sons and daughters.
They chose to partner with the Langley Association for Community Living, and Hawley said the local organization was “instrumental in guiding and working with us to build the framework for what we believed would be an exciting, engaging, family-led day program service where the youth could be engaged six hours a day, five days a week.”
Flexible days and hours were important to the parents, to allow for more community engagement outside of the traditional 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. routine.
“They believed in our vision… and have been partnering with us from the beginning, to create such a program,” Hawley said.
After months of planning, visioning, collaborating, and hosting social events so the youth and families could get to know each other better, the group made a proposal to Community Living BC in December 2016.
In March 2017, the funding was approved by CLBC for this collaboration.
“We were ecstatic,” Hawley said, adding “we required a larger space than was funded and with the generous support of Larry Fisher from LARK Group we were able to secure a location in Langley.”
The kitchen came together with help from many community donors including: Caroline Poloni Design, Harald Lincke, Hertco Kitchens LLC, Richard Smith, Woodsmith & Company, and Kathy and Graham Collins of Kenorah.
“The location is great,” Hawley said, “close to the bus loop, libraries, pool, community centers, outdoor park, and potential businesses for volunteer and employment opportunities.”
On behalf of the families, Hawley thanked the partners and contributors supporting Quantum Leap.
“Many community members have generously donated and we are feeling overwhelmed and grateful,” Hawley said.
“It takes a village to raise our youth and we certainly are feeling the strength of the actions of others, to support them.”