Theory of Change

Theory of Change

Theory of Change Statement:  When young adults with disabilities have access to choices, and engage in individualized instruction and employment experiences, they will become self-confident, independent and better prepared for life. 

Variety’s Mission and Strategy

Variety’s expression of social value is captured in its mission statement: to enrich the lives of children and young adults with disabilities through social, educational, and vocational programs that nurture independence and self-confidence, and prepare them for life.

The organization has a wealth of experience in serving youth and young adults with disabilities. The current direction for the agency is based on a 2017 Strategic Plan and 2018 Master Facilities Plan, both of which involved a vertically integrated team of staff and Board members to craft the vision for Variety. Through these processes, the organization’s leadership and Board acknowledged that the flagship – and “magnet” — program of Variety for decades has been its summer camp programs. Further, they committed to building and growing a signature workforce development model (VarietyWorks) that would meet a multitude of needs for campers aging out of services, as well as to providing year-round services that could maximize the usage of its 77-acre campus.

To be effective in its mission, Variety will focus on the following target population:

  • Children and young adults ages 14 to 24 with disabilities and who do not present or engage in behaviors that are a danger to themselves or others

Enrollment Criteria for Core Services

  • Has a disability
  • Has a desire to work
  • Has access to at least one funding stream (even private pay)
  • Has access to transportation
  • Lives in Variety catchment area (5 counties within a 20-mile radius)

Exclusion Criteria

  • Presents or engages in behaviors that are a danger to themselves or others
  • Documented history of severe substance misuse
  • Documented mental health condition that presents barrier to employment

Variety’s summer camps and after school programs that serve younger children will serve as a pipeline into the VarietyWorks model and the target population. Resources will continue to be invested in providing these summer flagship programs, as well as some out of school time programs, but these services are not intended to drive outcomes.

Overview of the Services that Variety will provide to achieve its mission

Variety’s core outcomes-producing services are why it is in business. Mission success will be measured by the target population clients achieving Variety’s long-term outcomes of self-confidence, independence, and preparation for life.  Variety will intentionally focus its resources on delivering high quality services to its target population. On a case by case basis, Variety will decide whether to admit any non-target population clients to its core services, and under what conditions. To be most efficient and effective, Variety will eventually need to set a limit on the percentage of slots in core services for non-target population clients.

Needs of Our Target Population

  • Exposure and experiences to different types of jobs; lack of holistic assessment tools for career readiness
  • World is not designed to be accessible to our population
  • All clients are not successful using the same model, but service definitions are standard so programs are designed in general to meet service definition
  • No “tour guide” of systems pre-21 and post 21
  • Not many providers serving pre and post 21
  • Entitlement services are prescriptive and given only through age 21, and then it all goes away including continuity in staffing
  • Turning 21 is a drastic change in services for which qualified
  • Process for waiver takes a long time

Services/Activities to Meet Those Needs

  • Provide systemic access to resources
  • Multiple entry points of VarietyWorks allow students to flow through all steps or jump in as appropriate
    • Allows choice and progression at level appropriate to them
  • Continuum of care from age 5
  • Access to community and moving needle in communities in which we work
  • Multidisciplinary approach (therapeutic rec, behavior analysis, special education) 

Measurable Impact/Outcomes

There are three primary outcomes for Variety’s target population:

  1. Self-Confidence= functional social skills and interprofessional skills (interpersonal skills in a professional environment) (individual)
  2. Independence= achieving and attaining community employment (vocational) being as independent as possible
  3. Preparation for Life= understanding and applying life skills effectively to maintain employment (e.g. do I have a way to get to my job, relationships forming at work to go to a social event – the way your life interacts with your job)