DTS EPIC Pathways

DTS EPIC Pathways

September 2, 2016 Inclusive NZ Community 0

As the saying goes; change brings opportunity, and DTS EPIC Pathways, is not one to turn down an opportunity to make a change for good.

That is why, just shy of a year ago, the Napier based organisation decided to change their name from Disability Training Services to DTS EPIC Pathways, to better reflect who they are – now.

“To be honest it has been a long time getting to where things are at today, but I’m proud to say that everything we do is now centred on the people we work alongside, and we try to encompass this in everything we do,” General Manager Vanessa McIntosh says.

And what better way to demonstrate this mind-set than during the name-change process itself.

“We were always clear that we were keen to say goodbye to the word disability, as our people has so many abilities and we want to celebrate this.

“What we weren’t too sure on was whether we wanted to incorporate the word eagle or epic into our name, so what better way to make this decision than to have the people that matter the most have their say.

“After much discussion, it was decided that the word EPIC, or rather the acronym would fit best as they believed it most aptly described exactly who we were and what we do – Empowerment – Participation – Inclusion – Community, ” Vanessa says.

Arguably, their most utilised service at DTS EPIC pathways though, is community participation.

Not only does this give the people they work alongside the chance to gain more independence and engage in activities they enjoy, but it has also had some unexpected benefits as well, Vanessa says.

“For instance, now that we’re based right in the heart of town we like to go out a lot, but for some getting around town can be physically demanding. Just the other day, though, two of our members decided that they would go get our washing done at a laundry mat in town, and while they were waiting, they wanted to grab a coffee together.

“One of them is in a mobility wheelchair which at times can make it hard for her to get around. However, her friend was only too happy to lend a hand and so off they went into town to run their errands and catch up over a coffee. It is so good to see these peer support relationships forming and we are only too happy to support them.”

Another way that community participation has added to the lives of those they work alongside is getting them involved in community projects that are for the greater good.

Heading down to the local community garden is one such way this is being achieved, as well as partnering up with the local council to help with beach clean ups along the coast.

“What’s great about these outings is that not only are our people being exposed to different lifestyles and different ways of thinking, but also the people in the community who come along to these events.

“I must say that the more we engage in these types of activities the more the community seems to be embracing us and it is a pretty good feeling to know that we have the support of the community as it has taken a long way to build up this relationship.

“Seeing our people out and about and living their lives is such a joy, and although we know there is always room for improvement, we are also happy with the progress we have made. Just the other day I asked our people what they thought of us and the way we do things around here, and someone replied “people centred – awesomeness!”

To find out more about DTS EPIC Pathways and what they do, visit their website: http://www.dtsnapier.org.nz/