Charting the LifeCourse Nexus Ambassador Badge Academy

November 17, 2021

In the summer of 2021, Charting the LifeCourse Nexus piloted the Ambassador Badge Academy courses with a select group of LifeCourse Nexus Coaches.

And, after a successful pilot run, the Ambassador Badge Academy courses are now available to all certified Charting the LifeCourse Ambassadors.

Charting the LifeCourse uses a person-centered framework and tools to help people with disabilities make decisions and live the lives they want to live.

The person-centered framework - and the related tools - have multiple uses.

For example, individuals with disabilities can use the tools to plan for transportation, get a job, or take a class. The tools are also useful for planning daily goals such as eating healthier or arranging appointments.

Family members can use Charting the LifeCourse to plan for their child's educational needs. Or service providers can use the framework to provide better person-centered supports and services.

"Ambassadors are the message bearers of Charting the LifeCourse," Jane St. John, a Charting the LifeCourse associate, said when explaining why ambassadors are important to Charting the LifeCourse.

Over 1000 certified Charting the LifeCourse ambassadors in the U.S. and across the globe support people with disabilities, family members, and service providers to use the Charting the LifeCourse framework and tools.

"We also have ambassadors involved at a deeper level, and that is so important because the LifeCourse Nexus staff can't keep up with the demand for presentations and training without the help of the ambassadors," St. John said. "All certified ambassadors have the knowledge to go out and share Charting the LifeCourse with others, but they aren't always confident in their knowledge or their skills to present or to lead group activities."

And that is where the Ambassador Badge Academy courses come in, St. John said.

"For example, the Presenters badge was designed to help ambassadors gain the confidence and the needed skills to present the foundational Charting the LifeCourse training," St. John said.

Similarly, the other badge courses, which include a Good Life Group Facilitator, Stakeholders Facilitator, and Charting the LifeCourse in Action Facilitator badge, are also intended to enhance the ability and confidence of ambassadors.

For example, the ability to lead a Good Life group or confidence to present on the foundations of Charting the LifeCourse to different audiences.

Getting the Foundations Presenter Badge gave certified Charting the LifeCourse ambassador Barb Sapharas an opportunity to gain credibility.

"That credibility is because I am much more prepared and confident to present," Sapharas said. "I do not have to look at my notes as much, and I can use more stories and anecdotes in my presentations because I have them prepared."

The Ambassador Badge Academy courses provide participants with self-guided and peer learning activities, including video creation, and providing feedback on other learners' videos. Badge course participants also receive feedback from LifeCourse Learning Coaches that helps them to improve their skills.

Ambassador Badge Academy course participants have access to a variety of Charting the LifeCourse materials and resources, including facilitator guides and PowerPoint presentations to help them become more prepared and confident.

The Winter Open Series, which features four Ambassador Badges in January, February and March, includes opportunities for ambassadors to earn a Stakeholders Facilitator badge, the CtLC in Action badge, the Foundations Presenters badge, and the Good Life Group Facilitator badge.