There’s a show on the Food Network called “Chopped” where four chefs compete head to head to create a three-course meal using the ingredients they find in their surprise boxes. They all get the same ingredients and the rules state they must use all the ingredients in whatever they create. Each of them can use a variety of things, herbs and spices, from the pantry to create their ultimate final dishes. Of course, with all this variety, not all of the dishes are successful. This is actually a great analogy for how services are provided system wide here at KHDS.
Because we offer so many services, from childhood to adult, it’s feasible that we will serve someone throughout a large span of their life. While in our services they will meet and work with a variety of program providers and each program and provider will have their own regulations and methods of working with that person. The person, the main ingredient, remains the same, but everyone brings their special touch, their personal “spice” to the mix. And, just as in the cooking shows, the end recipe doesn’t always turn out for the best. That’s because the main ingredient is the important aspect of the dish and just as in cooking, we must remember that it’s the person at the center of our services.
Everyone who comes to our door arrives with a set of skills learned throughout a lifetime that has enabled them to get to this point in their lives. Whether or not those skills seem appropriate by our standards is unimportant – they are the skills that have allowed the person to survive thus far. At KHDS, we believe it’s our job to start right there, where the person is with that set of skill and work forward teaching new skills, expanding on existing skills and broadening the life skillset of everyone who comes to us for service. Every program, every worker looks for those teachable moments because to us, those are the “spices” that create the ultimate final dish – the whole person ready to move on in new and exciting ways.
Is every dish successful? Certainly not on Chopped! And no, not in our line of work either and that’s the honest truth. We do what we can and give the people we serve all the best tools we can, so they have what they need. After that, we step back and hope for the best. But we are always here for support and, unlike Chopped, no one gets sent home for a “bad dish.” We don’t believe in “bad dishes!” We just try another cook!