Our mission is to create opportunities for growth and meaningful life choices so all people can be valued, contributing members of their community.
Keystone Human Services supports people to live their best lives in the community. We are part of a global movement to support people with disabilities as they leave congregated, segregated settings and move into homes in the community full of meaningful opportunities to explore their interests, pursue their dreams, and achieve their goals.
Our work with children and families in poverty and people with disabilities, as well as our efforts to change and improve legal frameworks, create responsive support systems, and end institutionalization are all based on the principle that everyone deserves an opportunity to become a fully participating member of their community.
We work alongside advocates with lived experience. Together, through the process of inclusion and change, we all help build a better future.
Our work this past year has focused on what it means to be truly inclusive. By starting with a recognition that people with disability are the experts in their own lives, we are continuing to shift mindsets, moving away from the traditional “caretaking” view of services for people with disability. Providing effective, inclusive, good support requires a partnership between people with disability who choose to accept services and those providing services.
Keystone Human Services’ volunteer Board members come to our work with a deep personal commitment. Board members have responsibility for the stewardship of the resources entrusted to our care and for setting policy, planning, mission, oversight, and strategy. Many Board members are family advocates who have a relative with disability.
We see the welfare of all people being vested in the welfare of each individual.
We believe that all human life is sacred, having equal and unconditional value.
We believe that it is important to recognize and value individual differences and diversity as a means of validating our own uniqueness and affirming the great diversity of the human community. Our services and supports value, are responsive to, and reflect the great diversity of the communities, people, and families we serve. We strive to ensure that all levels of our organization reflect this diversity.
Within our intent is a deep commitment to decrease the dependence of people and families on formal services. All that we do should contribute to the strength, independence, community presence, and capacity of each person. When a person or family does need formal services, those services must be effective, and, where appropriate, time limited.
Our vision is that of supporting people within their communities, in natural settings such as home, work, neighborhood, and school. We believe our role will increasingly change from that of a provider of services to that of a facilitator and community organizer.
We believe that we have a deep obligation to serve as a change agent, sharing our experience with others both individually and within the public policy and service delivery processes.
We believe that it is important to live in an environment where all of us have the opportunity to consider the moral aspects of our work. We desire that the many people associated with Keystone will wish to encourage and nurture deep commitments, friendships, non-paid relationships, and life sharing.
In this time of rapid social change, much of what we do encompasses the creation of social forms and structures that have value to all people. We believe that our striving to accept, value, and understand great diversity in human qualities is linked to our role in creating a safer world.
Values and Ideas that Guide Our Work
The following set of ideas and values guide our work at Keystone as we help people live more meaningful lives through finding home, friends, work, and presence in the community.
Effective human services must see the person and family using services as the ultimate customer, the person to whom they are most accountable. Services should be responsive to the needs of each person rather than the needs of the system. All people have the right to direct their future. They have a right to control how they live their lives and where and with whom they live. They have a right to exert influence over the resources that support them, and they should be actively involved in all aspects of planning and delivering services. People have the right to choose their lifestyles and their careers. When people need help, it is friends and family closest to them who assist them in broadening their experience and exercising their right to choose. It is essential that each person have a network of support chosen by him or her. Professionals and staff work for the person rather than for the system. Families, friends, and staff assist people to create more meaningful relationships, link them with needed supports, remove barriers, develop safety networks and help make dreams come true while never forgetting who is in charge.
Dignity and Respect
We will use language and words that create an environment of dignity, respect, and valued identities for the people we support and their families. All people have an inherent right to be treated with dignity and to be respected as a whole person. Most of life’s greatest lessons are learned when we make choices that we later realize were mistakes. All people have the right to the dignity of risk.
All people are inherently valuable regardless of their ability or disability.
We believe that we have a deep obligation to serve as a change agent sharing our experience with others both individually and within the public policy and service delivery processes.
Foundation of Service
We believe that service from one person to another is a transcendent endeavor that should be based on an individual’s personal experience of a spiritual, religious, philosophical, humanitarian, or social justice motive. We believe it is important to live in an environment where all of us have the opportunity to consider the moral and spiritual aspects of our work. We desire that the many people associated with Keystone will wish to encourage and nurture deep commitments, friendships, non-paid relationships, and life sharing.
Model coherency involves bringing all elements of service planning, treatment, philosophy, staffing, funding, training, supervision, and professional identity together into a coherent whole in order to meet the true needs of the person being supported.
Our vision is that of creating an environment where all people, regardless of background and ability, can grow, make choices, and be valued and contributing members of our community. Everyone has the ability to contribute to his or her community in a meaningful way. Giving of ourselves helps us establish a sense of belonging and identity. Community membership includes having an opportunity to be employed, to have your own home, to be truly involved in the routines of the community, and to make a difference in the lives of others.
We are deeply committed to decreasing the dependence of people and families on formal services. All that we do should contribute to the strength, independence, community presence, and capacity of each person.
The use of natural supports is essential to enduring success. Natural supports from family, neighbors, churches, synagogues, and the community define a resource of immense value and create a viable alternative to high cost formal program-based services. These supports are, by definition, volunteer and charitable and, consequently, deeply aligned with the role and identity of community nonprofit. Services should be offered in the least restrictive, most natural setting possible. People should be encouraged to use the available natural supports in the community and should be integrated into the normal living, working, learning, and leisure time activities of the community.
Whatever It Takes
We value an attitude where nothing is impossible as long as it is legal and causes no harm. “No, we can’t” as an answer is replaced by “How can we make this happen?” Making things happen doesn’t always require money. Realizing dreams is about opening up opportunities that do not depend on the limited resources the system has available.
Culture determines our world view and provides a general design for living and patterns for interpreting reality that are reflected in our behavior. Therefore, services should be culturally competent and be provided by people who have the skills to recognize, understand, and be responsive to and respectful of the mores, history, race, ethnic origin, values, beliefs, religious practice, customs, language, rituals, and practices characteristic of a particular group of people.
When a person or family needs formal services and or treatment, those services and treatments must be effective.
We believe that all people grow and develop throughout their lives.
Human service agencies must sustain a deeply rooted connection with the people and communities they serve. This connection is a product of members of the community perceiving ownership and influence within the organization, while at the same time the agency influences and educates the community. This is an essential public policy issue of profound importance necessary to ensure that communities retain a sense of responsibility for the social trends and problems addressed by the organization.
We have a great responsibility for the stewardship of the resources in our care and must work diligently to create services that are increasingly effective, accessible and affordable. Fiscal integrity is an essential quality of government supported services. Because of the life & death issues addressed, all constituencies must trust the system and have knowledge of how resources are being used, confident that they are being applied in a manner that serves consumers and the community.
The relationships a person has with others are precious and should be treated in that way. A relationship must be treasured, protected, and nurtured. Those with whom the person has enduring relationships provide the strength, assistance, and security which ensure each person’s well-being.
Age and Cultural Appropriateness
Services and supports should reflect what typically occurs within a particular society for valued members of an age comparable to the age of the person being served.
Family members and people receiving services must have a very powerful role in governance, planning, policy, advocacy, and oversight of the system, agencies, and their services. The family is the primary support system for their loved one and services should help the family advocate for themselves. The family participates as a full partner in all stages of the decision-making and treatment planning process including implementation, monitoring, and evaluation.
Never has there been such a great threat to, and opportunity for, people with disabilities and the community movement. Nonprofits that survive and find a role of significant influence in the emerging service system will be in a position to define the fundamental nature of services and supports.