Melanie's Story: We Can Dream!
Melanie lived away from her family and home town when she joined the We Can Dream! project. She was about to leave school and was uncertain about her future. This is her story.
The first step was to help Melanie to form her own circle of support. A circle of support contains the most important people in your life and, at times of change, people who can help move things forward for you, such as a Social Worker. Melanie had a small circle of support to help her think about the future. Her circle consisted of her mother, father, transition worker and key worker at the home she lived in. After the first few meetings the Housing Social Worker joined as moving house was something Melanie wanted to do.
For Melanie’s plan, the first thing the circle did was list all the really great things (sometimes called "gifts") about Melanie, as these gave her ideas about what she wanted to do in life. Then her family was asked to think about what she would really like to do in her life (sometimes called "dreams"). In order to make sure Melanie was safe and supported in the best way, the circle asked what were her "nightmares" (or things that could go wrong or what you dread about the future); this was important as it helped to introduce a balance between independence and her health and safety. For example, in Melanie’s case, she could not live without 24 hour support but needed her own space away from everybody to do the things she loved to do on her own. This helped in the planning for her future housing.
Because Melanie lived away from her home town, she was clear that she wanted to move back to her local area because in order to keep in touch with her old school friends and attend the local college where they would go to when they left school. She was also keen to continue attending the clubs and activities that she did after school and during school/college holidays.
After getting Melanie’s views, the circle made an action plan which listed what her goals were and what actions the circle of support would do in the short-term (three months) and in the long term (six months). Each person who attended the planning session agreed to do certain tasks to help Melanie to move forward with her plan. For example, her mother agreed to take Melanie to visit the college she wanted to go to and her transition worker agreed to make a referral to the Housing Social Worker.
Now, Melanie has left school and studies at the local college and has moved in to a house with three other young people. She is delighted that her plan has come in to action and she has even managed to lose weight now that she goes swimming three times a week.