Companion Linc’s name is a combination of intentionally placing the individuals it serves (Companion), along with part of the name of city where the organization began (Lincoln). In 2010 Companion Linc became a certified Developmental Disabilities (DD) Services Provider through the State of Nebraska. At that time, it was the first DD Service Provider that was built on the following principles:
1. Facility-Free: NO group homes or workshops.
2. Restraint Free- Companion Linc has never believe physical intervention is safe or healthy approach in supporting people.
3. Relationships- Companion Linc believes that in a context of meaningful relationships, individuals have the best opportunity to reach their goals.
Companion Linc began to serve Companions in 2011. Since its inception, Companion Linc has prioritized the needs and goals of the Companions it serves over any organizational development goals. This strategy has proven to be a successful one in that it has lead Companion Linc to develop in a way that could not have been imagined when it first began.
Focusing on Companions’ goals, dreams and needs has lead us as an organization to develop different service approaches, models and systems. This focus has also constantly lead Companion Linc to make small, medium and large decisions as an organization with the improvement of Companion’s quality of life as its overall goal. The results of this focus have allowed tremendous growth as an organization in the number of people served.
In 2014, this same focus has allowed for the growth as an organization in the development of Companion Services in Omaha. Today, Companion Linc serves as the management company for Companion Services, and has lead that organization in the development of three retail stores that are operated by the Companions they serve.
In 2015 Companion Linc developed a Mental Health organization, Wellbeing Initiative. It is an organization dedicated to serving individuals, through peer support, who live with severe and persistent mental health and substance abuse diagnosis. With the partnership with the Lt. Governor’s office, Wellbeing Initiative opened “The Orchard” in downtown Lincoln in November of 2015. The Orchard is a “walk-in center” for individuals with mental health and substance abuse diagnosis to connect to a community of individuals who are self-identified “peers” who have been trained as Peer Support Specialists by the State of NE. Wellbeing Initiative also will be operating Nebraska’s first Statewide Warm Line. This is a peer-run service in which people across the state can call and speak to a peer about challenges in their lives.
In 2016 Companion Linc became a Certified Developmental Disabilities (DD) Services Provider in the Twin Cities metro area in Minnesota. It is developing itself in the same Mission, Vision, Values and Service Philosophy that Companion Linc originally began with in 2011.
In February Companion Linc partnered with two local businesses to open a new retail location and provide new paid employment opportunities for the Companions they serve. Companions will have the opportunity to work in a restaurant and thrift store at minimum wage.
Phat Jack’s BBQ has been awarded “Best BBQ in Lincoln” in 2015 and 2016, and opened its new restaurant in the new retail location on West O street on February 1st.
The ARC of Lincoln is an advocacy organization for individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities and their families. They opened a thrift store in partnership with Companion Linc on February 1st.
To learn more about Phat Jack’s and the ARC of Lincoln, visit their websites under Community Partnerships!
But Companion Linc also believes that caring about someone is often not enough. In effectively supporting Companions, it is important that those who support them are competent in understanding intellectual disabilities, habilitation principles and research supported approaches in supporting Companions. To this end, Companion Linc provides, and/or connects its Host Home Providers and staff to progressive trainings both locally and online through the College of Direct Support Professionals.
We refer to the individuals we serve as “Companions”. Companion Linc is intentionally striving to replace institutional thinking, behavior and language in its services. “Companions” replaces words like clients, consumers, customers, etc. which all imply that it is imperative to who is the server, and who is the served. To us, “Companions” implies a relationship, without implying a necessary “service.” It’s a small, but significant reminder that in all relationships, sometimes we are the supporter, and sometimes we are the supported.