Lauren Klenda:                  Hey everyone. I’m joined now by Doug Sorter on behalf of STRiVE. Doug, thank you for coming in today.

Doug Sorter:                      Lauren, thanks so much.

Lauren Klenda:                  Well, I love having you here.

Doug Sorter:                      Perfect.

Lauren Klenda:                  I think you bring a good energy into the building with you whenever you come.

Doug Sorter:                      Thanks, I appreciate that. I am kind of like jumpy, yeah, so-

Lauren Klenda:                  You’re the Energizer Bunny.

Doug Sorter:                      I am.

Lauren Klenda:                  Okay, so today we’re talking about the Host Home program over at STRiVE.

Doug Sorter:                      Oh my gosh, what a great program that is. I’m telling you, there’s nothing more that we do that is so impactful in one of these adults’ lives than that Host Home. I mean, it is just instrumental in helping them grow and build that self confidence because they get an opportunity to live with a family, which a lot of times they’ve never had that opportunity. They’ve been institutionalized, or lived in a group home of some sort, and now they have a time where they’re with a family.

They do family vacations, they have family entertainment, they have family meals, they have family conversations, and the most important piece, Lauren, is that family support that’s there. They know they can count on the folks that are there to help them, provide for them, look out for them; you know, keep track of what’s going on in their lives. It’s just really a huge, huge piece, and it’s great to see that growth too. It’s just so much fun.

Lauren Klenda:                  Tell me about the progress that we’re seeing. How do you even get involved in this program if you wanted to be a provider?

Doug Sorter:                      That’s a great question, because we have more people that want to go into a host home than people that want to provide the host home, because I just don’t think there’s enough information out there. The people are … they benefit from that. This is like their job, so they take care of the folks in their home, but they get paid, so they have that flexibility of schedule that they can do the things that they need to do, but yet they’re still providing a great peace for these folks to make sure that they’re taken care of.

Getting involved in it, you come down to STRiVE, you fill out an application, you go through all the background checks and all the things that you need to do to make sure that you’re a good person. You know, we want to have good people supporting our folks, and that they have … living conditions are adequate, and they have their own rooms, and the stuff that they need to be thriving. A lot of times, folks do find that, and they live there for 20, 30 years.

Once you find those good fits and they have an opportunity to go stay with them for a while, or have lunch with them and dinner, they kind of have a process. It takes a little while to get there, but everybody finds that perfect fit so that once we know that they want to move there and that’s their choice, and the families are willing to have them in their home, and that’s their choice, that that fit really takes place and it’s going to be long lasting, because the last thing we want to do is just have them bounce around from place, to place, to place. That’s not good for anybody.

Once we do that, we’ve gone through a thorough process of vetting everything so that everybody’s happy, content, and it’s going to work. It’s a big deal, so it’s fun.

Lauren Klenda:                  What does the process look like? Are we talking there’s multiple background checks? How do you decide who is a good fit?

Doug Sorter:                      Well, there is a lot of multiple background checks, because we want to make sure everybody’s safe, and there’s also a home … where we go and look at the home, and make sure everything’s safe there, like for instance if they have some additional issues with their mobility, they have to … make sure that their doors are wide enough for a wheelchair if that’s the case, or they have the handrails that they need.

Whatever those different things that they need, they really have to make and meet the expectations of us, but more importantly, the expectations of the individual; how they’re going to live there, because this is going to be their home, and how they’re going to thrive. It’s really kind of a good way of making those fits happen, but once they do, they’re so beneficial to the individual, but they’re also beneficial to the family themselves because again, they have that flexibility of employment that they can kind of maneuver around when they need, and everything works out well, and they don’t have that regular nine to five job.

It’s 24 hours a day, but it’s still, you have that flexibility that still comes with that, but boy, I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to see that piece fit together, and then the longevity of it, and then the growth from the individuals themselves, because they get that confidence, and they get that feeling of value that comes from being a part of a family. There’s a lot of things I like about STRiVE, but this is one of the ones that I really like about STRiVE.

Lauren Klenda:                  Well, last question for you. Regarding this program, once somebody does become a Host Home provider, are there resources available to them in case they do need some help?

Doug Sorter:                      Absolutely, yes. We’re there. That is a great question. I love your questions, but that is a good question because we provide all the behavioral supports, and the therapies, and all the different things that go along with that. We’re there, and help the folks with that, we help the families with that, and if there’s any issues that come up, we’re a resource to draw upon, and that’s one of the things that we provide in a lot of different ways. That’s a good piece, but great question, I really like that.

Lauren Klenda:                  Well Doug, I so appreciate your time this afternoon.

Doug Sorter:                      Sure.

Lauren Klenda:                  Thank you for being here.

Doug Sorter:                      Thank you Lauren so much, very much.

Lauren Klenda:                  Like I said, he brings a great energy in here, people. If you guys do want to learn more about the Host Home program, head to STRiVE’s website right there at the bottom of your screen; reach out to them, they would love to hear from you. Stay with us though, we’ll be right back.