LIFEWORKS is an agency that is funded through San Diego Regional Center to help individuals with different disabilities to live on their own and in their own homes. LIFEWORKS’ primary goal is to give those people the freedom and independency to decide their own decisions and lifestyle without the need of others to make decisions for them. LIFEWORKS was founded in 2004 by Beth Gallagher with the mission of meeting the unique needs of each person and establishing a plan that serves those needs.
Clients who come seeking for assistance get asked about what their needs and desires are, and then the staff’s job is to build a plan that will enable them to fulfill those needs. On March 2nd, 2010 at 10 A. M. , I was given the opportunity to meet and talk with the founder of LIFEWORKS. Ms. Beth Gallagher, who received me with warmth and hospitality, introduced me to some of Lifeworks great staff, like Kirk Hinkleman and Jacob Fiedler, who work as LIFEWORK coordinators.
The staff explained to me the agency’s goals and services. They also showed me pictures of some of the people that they have helped through the agency. About 12 PM, Beth suggested that I be fully immersed into what LIFEWORKS is in action, so she invited me to one her client visits at home to see the type of environment their client has been living in and the different types of support he has been receiving from the agency. John, the client that we met, is a 60-year old man with cerebral palsy.
He used to be a professional swimmer that taught people with physical disabilities (mostly Cerebral Palsy) how to swim despite their physical condition. John was actually hospitalized the night before the visit. Beth asked him many questions concerning his health, the events that had happened at the hospital, and if there were new medications prescribed to him. Moreover, she also asked the staff member working with John questions regarding his health, daily life issues, and medications. In this way, Beth was able to assess John’s condition and his progress in achieving his goals.
After visiting John, Beth also introduced me to Kim, another client of LIFEWORKS that has Autism, seizure disorder, and a long history of aggression and behavioral disorders until she had moved to a house of her own where her issues seemed to decease with the help of LIFEWORK’s program. On that same day, I was also introduced to yet a third client, Rosan, who had a meeting with the team to discuss her latest issues. Rosan, who has Cerebral Palsy, shared with the team her financial and health concerns.
The team also talked about personal matters that revolved around her everyday life, like if she was comfortable with her roommate, rent issues, medications, her job, interests, and an issue she was having with the wheelchair and how to get it fixed. On March 18th, Beth invited me to be present in a meeting with another client named Tami at her house together with Tami herself, her father, her roommate, and Tami’s staff member. During the meeting, Tami shared her future plans with everyone in the room, talked about the ones she had accomplished and the ones that she will be accomplishing over the years.
Tami had discussed with her team how she will achieve her future plans and with whom. She was asked by Beth about her health and emotional conditions, as well as her financial situation. After all topics had been discussed, Tami had shared her agreement to achieve the next plans until the next meeting. LIFEWORKS believes that every individual, no matter how significant his/her disability is, deserves a lifestyle that he/she chooses, deserves to be independent, and deserves to be honored for who they are.
LIFEWORKS looks at them as physically-challenged but diverse individuals and respect them for their uniqueness. With these beliefs, LIFEWORKS aims to help people with disabilities to succeed in the paths they choose to take and provides them with tools, strategies, and unlimited support to reach their goals. I personally admire LIFEWORKS staff’s efforts to give individuals with disabilities the independence they deserve, to change the community’s perspectives of people with disabilities, to treat them with dignity and as equal as any person in the community.