Social Role Valorization (SRV) and Achieving a Meaningful Life

Using the SRV framework to guide our programmatic efforts helps Melissa, Shawnice and Justin to achieve full, rich meaningful lives.

By Barbara Dyer

Director of Quality & Performance Improvement

Social Role Valorization (SRV) is a fancy phrase to describe a vision and philosophy for how we approach our work at Mainstay Life Services.

But what is SRV?

SRV is a theory developed by Dr. Wolf Wolfensberger and it provides a framework for us to envision a world where people with disabilities experience freedom, dignity, independence, choice, and ultimately achieve the good things in life that we all enjoy.

What are those good things?

It’s all the same stuff you want in your life to make it good – making meaningful contributions at work, in the community, and at home; belonging and being part of something bigger; feeling included; having friends who aren’t paid staff; being held in high regard; and achieving success.

Good things come to people when they are seen as holding valued roles within their communities. Roles which include employee, neighbor, volunteer, family member, and so many more. It also comes from helping the people we support to gain skills and knowledge that strengthens their ability to be more independent and successful in living their best lives! It also ensures they are seen as competent, responsible, and dependable.

Implementing SRV at Mainstay is a strategic priority which includes ensuring our leadership and management staff are formally trained in its framework. Once trained, they are expected to then share it with the direct support professionals who, in turn, can act on its premise to support a person in enhancing their image and competency, maintaining relationships, and in increasing their autonomy and self-determination.

What does SRV look like at Mainstay?

Exploring the availability of sewing lessons in the community for someone who wants to learn to sew cat toys on her sewing machine for the local animal shelter. Using technology, like an electric bicycle, to provide increased employment and recreation options as well as the ability to travel to work independently. Traveling to Harrisburg to advocate for themselves and talking with state legislators about issues of concern to them. Encouraging someone to pursue a hobby in the typical ways any of us would pursue a hobby, for example, taking an art class at the local craft store or community college.