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Shared Support Maryland is a small nonprofit of almost 13 years providing completely personalized supports to more than 100 people with disabilities. The approach and outcomes are a matter of social justice.
Our objective is not to run the lives of people with disabilities but to support people to run their own lives. Those who hire us live in their own homes, alone or with roommates they have chosen. They hire and are in charge of their own support staff, hold jobs that pay a living wage and spend their time in activities of their choosing. We are one of fewer than 70 agencies in the country that provides this kind of person-centered, customized support and services and some say we are one of a kind.
In everything we do the intent is to support people to make decisions for themselves – to live truly self-directed lives ~ everyone, any level or multiplicity of disability, no one left behind. We know we provide quality; individualized assistance because the many of the people we support tell us that they have never accomplished so much in their lives. We can also see for ourselves how people’s capabilities, contributions, and quality of life grow with this kind of support.
Shared Support Maryland’s defining characteristic is our ability to balance rigor and flexibility. Because the best life can sometimes be achieved in surprising and unplanned ways, we seek to balance:
- The discipline of person-centered planning and our commitment to be fully responsive to people’s changing needs;
- The importance of the dignity of risk balanced against our commitment to what people define for themselves as safe and well; and,
- Transparency and accountability with the determination to support people in creative ways. Shared Support Maryland, Inc. is unlike most agencies that provide services in the degree of our commitment to personalized supports. The ways in which we carry out that commitment is the key to our being able to do things differently.
- We stretch our boundaries and share our person-centered values, tools, and practices with other agencies that provide services to people with disabilities by providing training to people, family members and those that choose to work for people with disabilities across Maryland and in other states. We at Shared Support Maryland are proud of what we have created. With our support, and that of our customers, their families, friends, donors and funders, people who many thought could not live full lives of meaning and impact are making decisions for themselves, mastering skills for life and work, and making meaningful contributions to the world around them.
Shared Support Maryland, Inc. assists people in developing and maintaining the self-direction of their services and supports, fosters and grows community connections and relationships, and values the ambitions and goals of the people we support by joining in their pursuits and sharing in their successes. In doing so we inspire systemic change.