Skip to content

A group of Camp Loyaltown employees pose for a photo at camp

At Citizens Options Unlimited, we believe that:

Every human being has dignity and is worthy of respect. This underlies our approach to needs-based services and support and also informs our approach to working with each other and with our stakeholders

We treat people in a principled manner, knowing we are united by a shared mission and positive intent.

Observable behaviors:

  1. We engage people in decisions that impact them and stay connected with them as decisions are made.
  2. We express gratitude for the contributions of people across all functions of the organization.
  3. We consistently demonstrate respect in our communications and in our behavior.
  4. We show vulnerability, acknowledge when we are wrong, apologize when appropriate, and forgive when needed.
  5. We consult with people to see what they need, talk with them about how things are perceived, and get their input on important issues.

What we mean by this:

Show respect for people supported and employees. Recognize that our mission is centered on the people we support and that our employees are the organization’s greatest asset and make investments in them. Commit to making Citizens a place where people want to receive supports, want to work, good work is getting done, staff are valued, and people are happier.

Lead by example. Treat others the way we want to be treated. Model the behavior we expect of others in day-to-day actions, and our interactions.

Model grace and empathy at all levels of the organization. Give people space for mistakes. Assume good intentions, avoid hidden agendas, show vulnerability, apologize when appropriate, forgive when needed.

Supports are best provided around people’s needs, desires, and choices

Not all individuals are alike, and we value that. The foundation of our work is the necessity to identify the best environment for growth and success for each person and to focus on their desires, goals and objectives. This is how we ensure success for our program participants.

Observable behaviors:

  1. We meet with each person to identify their desires, likes and dislikes.
  2. We structure our decision-making processes to enable collaboration.
  3. We share responsibility for finding solutions and accountability for results.
  4. We actively seek dialogue, finding the right way to engage individuals. We ask curious questions to gain insight and understanding.
  5. We have tough conversations and acknowledge difficult input.

What we mean by this:

Engage liberally with people and encourage them to share their issues and concerns. We present options and ensure everyone has a clear understanding of decisions made and expectations. We seek to make parents from diverse backgrounds comfortable in sharing and communicating with us. We communicate regularly and in ways parents need.

Look for solutions, not just problems. We keep dialogue open and ensure everyone understands expectations for engagement and success.

We acknowledge that a competent workforce is vital to our ability to meet and live our mission. Our ability to support people to live full, meaningful, and happy lives is dependent on the core skills of compassion, empathy, and commitment to be of service to others.

Observable behaviors:

  1. We look for staff who have the competencies to effectively make a difference in the lives of others.
  2. We look for staff who represent the diversity of our community and the people we support.
  3. We support people who are experiencing bias by staff, people supported or families by interceding and reinforcing our core value of respect.
  4. We provide our staff with the tools and resources they need to be successful.
  5. We look for opportunities to solicit staff feedback and engage them in decisions that impact their ability to do their work effectively.

What we mean by this:

Identify the skills needed to be successful and pursue candidates with those skills. We challenge our biases to ensure we are selecting those who will be successful regardless of race, gender, LGBTQIA+, age, disability, etc.

We identify opportunities for professional growth and help staff consider their career path and the skills needed to achieve their goals.

We don’t tolerate bias, prejudice and discrimination, harassment or bullying by anyone within the organization and we intercede to protect people from mistreatment.

We listen and seek feedback. We assess the needs of staff and hold ourselves accountable for the resources available to staff by engaging staff in conversations on how to find effective solutions.


Our ability to meet our goals and objectives is rooted in our ability to build trust with our staff, people supported and with their families. Demonstrating that we have their best interests at heart and that we are looking to solve problems and make decisions that support ongoing growth and engagement. Communication is essential to building trust and we will engage with all stakeholders to ensure that we are actively seeking their input.

Observable behaviors:

  1. We are willing to take risks and allow space for “creative ideas.”
  2. We structure our decision-making processes to enable collaboration.
  3. We share responsibility for finding solutions and accountability for results.
  4. We actively seek dialogue, finding the right way to engage individuals. We ask curious questions to gain insight and understanding.
  5. We practice active listening.
  6. We have tough conversations, acknowledge difficult input.

What we mean by this:

Engage liberally with leaders, peers, and staff especially when you see that some are silent or need time to participate. Reach out to communicate with them, especially those that you hear less from or are less extroverted in their communications. Endeavor to knock down walls, not build silos.

Practice active listening Listen attentively with the intent to understand. Active listening means repeating what you think you heard to check that you understood, it means asking curious questions to gather insights and understanding, it means acknowledging other’s perspective and ideas with sincerity. Demonstrate this through verbal and non-verbal cues. Be open to dialogue and feedback you receive.

Look for win-win solutions, not just problems. Present and address problems in a way that promotes mutual discussion and resolution. Have the courage to deliver bad news accurately to generate solutions not to gossip.

We advance equity, foster equitable opportunity, and address inequality within our organization and in our work.

Observable behaviors:

  1. We find solutions to structural impediments that interfere with equity in our organization.
  2. We have transparent policies and procedures; we do not have hidden rules of behavior that may be apparent to some groups and unknown to others.
  3. The Senior Leadership Team and Steering Committee will champion diversity and inclusion efforts at every level of the organization.
  4. We cultivate a diverse and representative workforce, free of discrimination.
  5. We strive to strengthen the voices of the marginalized and vulnerable, even within our own organization.
  6. We value every team member and seek to ensure everyone can fulfill their potential.

What we mean by this:

We recognize our moral obligation to respect and protect the civil rights of all. We are committed to achieving and maintaining an inclusive, diverse, and representative workforce within Citizens, free of bias, discrimination, and reflecting the innovation and creativity that diversity can bring to the workplace. We value every member of our team, learn from their experience, and foster their active engagement.

Our success depends on our ability to be a viable organization now and in the future. We look for everyone to take ownership for ensuring the highest standards of performance and success. We challenge assumptions and always find creative solutions. Curiosity is a key competency and expected in everyone.

Observable behaviors

  1. We encourage all employees to responsibly deliver high quality services in a manner that is efficient and impactful.
  2. We support employees in creating solutions that bring greater efficiencies and higher effectiveness while maintaining financial stability
  3. We encourage each other to share ideas and work fostering a culture that supports failure as well as success.
  4. We are dedicated to our work and take full responsibility for our solutions.

What we mean by this:

We are dedicated to providing high quality supports and we continuously strive to improve our services and the way we provide them. We do not sacrifice quality and work as a team to ensure we deliver services efficiently. We know that our success in providing supports and services to a diverse I/DD community requires us to continuously seek new and creative ways to understand the needs of different racial/ethnic communities. We are committed to creating an environment where our diverse staff can utilize their skills to find innovative solutions that ensure our success in supporting people with I/DD living full and healthy lives.


We encourage collaboration, bringing people into the conversation and practice active listening. We take risks and are willing to be wrong.

Observable behaviors:

  1. We structure our decision-making processes to enable collaboration.
  2. We share responsibility for finding solutions and accountability for results.
  3. We actively seek dialogue, finding the right way to engage people. We ask curious questions to her insight and understanding.
  4. We have tough conversations and acknowledge difficult input.

What we mean by this:

Engage liberally with people especially when you see that some are silent or need time to participate. Reach out to communicate with them especially those that you hear less from or are less extroverted in their communications. Endeavor to knock down walls, not build silos.

Practice active listening with leaders, peers, and staff. Listen attentively with the intent to understand. Active listening means repeating what you think you heard to check that you understood, it means asking curious questions to gather insights and understanding, it means acknowledging other’s perspective and ideas with sincerity. Demonstrate this through verbal and non-verbal cues. Be open to dialogue and feedback you receive.

Look for solutions, not just problems. Present and address problems in a way that promotes mutual discussion and resolution. Have the courage to deliver bad news accurately to generate solutions, not gossip.

Our Partners

Copyright 2024 Citizens Options Unlimited