Multicultural Community Services (MCS) offers several programs through its Family Support Centers which are designed to meet the unique needs or circumstances of individuals with disabilities and their families.
The Asian Initiative
The goal of this initiative is to outreach to and assist Asian families who have a family member with a disability. Bilingual staff are careful to respect the cultural values and customs of the families while helping them to identify and access needed services and community supports.
This program supports those families who have a child or adult family member up to the age of 25 with complex medical and developmental needs. The primary goal of this program, with the support of an active advisory board, is to design comprehensive wrap-around supports that enable the family to care for their child at home. Services include direct supports, interagency networking and consultation. Family Bridges is based out of the MCS Family Support Center in Holyoke but serves the entire Western Region of the Department of Developmental Services.
Family Leadership Program
The MCS Family Leadership Program provides education and family leadership training for families with a child or adult with a disability. Through Massachusetts Families Organizing For Change Western Region (MFOFC), each year 25 – 30 families participate in a Family Leadership Series that focuses on supporting families and individuals to live in their communities as naturally and typically as desired. The MFOFC Family Leadership Series offers information about “best practices” for people with disabilities and assists families in creating a vision for their family member and a process to achieve their vision by incorporating that information. Throughout the year, other trainings and workshops are offered to address topics of interest expressed by families.
Interfaith Connections is a group of concerned clergy and volunteers who are committed to facilitating connections between individuals with disabilities and a faith community of their choice. MCS partners with Interfaith Connections regarding the many ways to fully include people with disabilities in their congregations.
MCS, in collaboration with Lutheran Social Services, assists families who have recently immigrated to the United States and have a family member with a disability. This program is unique in that the Service Navigator is housed at Lutheran Social Services of New England in West Springfield. This arrangement provides a bridge to disability services for families from a variety of nations including countries of the former Soviet Union, Iraq, Nepal, and Somalia.
Translation and Interpretation Services
MCS provides a regional translation and interpretation service based at the MCS Family Support Center in Holyoke. This program provides these services to human service agencies, state organizations and individual families.
Vanguard Integration Facilitation Training Project
This project is an intensive professional development program for staff and families regarding the importance and the necessity of social integration for people with disabilities. Experienced MCS staff design and offer a training curriculum for participants to utilize and discuss different inclusion strategies.