Guiding Principles

Westport Associates was founded upon, and embraces the following guiding principles as its’ mission:

  1. All people with disabilities, regardless of the nature or severity of that disability, belong in the community. Community integration will work only if people believe in it, cherish it, and embrace it.

  2. People with disabilities should have the same opportunities as other people and should live, work, and recreate in typical community settings. We must view quality of life for people with disabilities in the same way we view the quality of our own lives. Being in the community is not the same as being part of the community.

  3. Being part of the community means having meaningful relationships with other community members. It means being a fellow member of a club, a family member, neighbor, friend, casual acquaintance, church member, and significant other. It means being known as an individual, a unique person and not as a label, a client of an agency, or the recipient of another’s altruistic acts.

  4. As much and whatever kinds of support needed should be provided to people so that they may participate and become part of the community. Being part of the community should never be confused with neglect, indifference or denial of supports and services.

  5. People with disabilities should be given opportunities to learn practical, useful skills for living and participating in the community.

  6. People with disabilities should have the right to make their own decisions and should be involved in the design and operations of the services and support they receive.

  7. Being part of the community is an end in itself. People who are part of their communities will act in more “normal”, socially appropriate ways. They may become more independent and productive. However, even if people do not change dramatically or become independent, they should still be able to be part of the community. The right to a decent life should not be contingent on becoming “non-disabled” or “independent”.

  8. Being part of the community will take time, commitment, and focused effort. Focused effort by our agency is achieved best through personalized dedication to the enhancement of the lives of a few selected individuals. It is vital that the Board of Directors, Executive Director, and all Support Directors have a personal involvement and knowledge of all individuals to whom we provide services, and that can only occur by limiting the number of people who receive support from the agency.