Guiding Principles

The Polus Center uses a person-centered approach in its development projects. Person-centered means developing meaningful relationships with people whom the Polus Center assists by visiting them at their homes and hearing their stories first-hand. The Polus Center prioritizes connecting with people to learn who they are and hear what they have to say. This emphasis on learning about individuals’ unique situations and needs allows people to have their voices heard and be able to help themselves.

Providing person-centered assistance to people involves considering the social and economic factors in addition to a person’s physical condition. This process offers a complete picture of people’s actual needs, as opposed to addressing the presumed collective needs of a larger group or a target population. Rooted in the theory of Social Role Valorization, the Polus Center believes in a person-centered, holistic approach to supporting individuals’ unique visions for a better life. This process begins with extensive interviews of potential service recipients to gain a deeper understanding of their lives and the daily challenges they face.

These guiding principles include:

  • People are more alike than different
  • Community life is strengthened by including all citizens
  • Any group can become vulnerable - once vulnerable they become targets of oppression.
  • The composition of vulnerable groups can change over time
  • Societal beliefs and perceptions about people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups have a profound impact on people's lives.
  • Promoting valued social roles for vulnerable groups enhances social and economic opportunities and creates a more inclusive community.
  • Social and economic stigmas can have a serious negative effect on a person's life
  • Programs must be designed in collaboration with local communities and must be person centered
  • Family members and friends of vulnerable persons play an essential role in program design and the fostering of natural support networks.
  • Polus is committed to developing leadership and services that reflect best practice.
  • Programs and support services must be flexible and tailored to each person.
  • Polus values diversity and strives to create partnerships that reflect this

Related Articles

Susan Thomas and Wolf Wolfensberger (1999). An overview of Social Role Valorization. In R. J. Flynn & R. A. Lemay (Eds) A Quarter Century of Normalization and Social Role Valorization: Evolution and Impact. Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press.

Michael J. Kendrick (2007). Valued Social Roles And The Necessity Of Values Based Leadership, The SRV Journal, 2(1) June 2007.

Joe Osburn (2007) An Overview of SRV Theory. The SRV Journal, 1(1), 4-13.

“Wolfensberger, W., Thomas, S. & Caruso, G. (1996). Some of the Universal “Good Things in Life” Which the Implementation of SRV Can be Expected to Make More Accessible to Devalued People. The International Social Role Valorization Journal, 2, (2), 12-14.

Darcy Elks & Elizabeth Neuville (2007). Implementing Social Role Valorization across a large human service organization: Les­sons & learning. The SRV Journal, 2(2), 37–44.

Michael Kendrick, A life well lived Thinking About... Issue 14. Belonging Matters, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
February 2013

Michael Kendrick, SRV as a resource for seeking and shaping the Good Life, Family Advocacy NSW, Sydney, Australia 2007

Michael Lundquist, Community-Based Rehabilitation Program Design and Implementation in Central America, The Journal of Conventional Weapons Destruction.

Michael Lundquist, Landmine Victim Assistance Progress, Challenges and Best Practices, The Journal of Conventional Weapons Destruction.

Michael Lundquist, The Challenge of Prosthetic Services in Developing Countries, The Journal of Conventional Weapons Destruction