For this week’s Throwback Thursday post, we’re sharing from our 2009 PLANfacts Newsletter. It’s the story of Len, Beryl and Colin Sawyer, and how their family found peace of mind when they joined PLAN.
By ensuring Colin had a network of caring relationships to keep him safe, secure and included in the community, Len and Beryl were able to face the future with confidence.
Here’s a quote from Beryl: “It was PLAN’s commitment to maintain Colin’s network for his lifetime that drew us to PLAN. It held the promise of peace of mind knowing there would always be someone there for him.”
We invite you to read the Sawyer’s story: “Peace of Mind: Our Lifetime Commitment”
Beryl and Len had heard another parent describe how PLAN created a personal support network for their son so that they would have caring relationships throughout their life. Although they had a close relationship to their son, Beryl and Len understood that having a network for Colin would ensure that he would always be cared for.
After more than a decade, Colin’s network is a vital part of his life. Colin’s network is comprised of his parents, his two sisters, friends from his church, former support staff and past connectors. Holding it together and making it sing is his current connector Rosalyn, who Colin describes as “a great lady”. Listening to Beryl and Len, you really get a sense of the importance of this circle of friends in Colin’s life.
According to Beryl, the day that Colin’s network got together with him to do a PATH (a life plan) was a real turning point in their lives. “Colin’s network had gathered for a potluck dinner. Sitting together, eating good food and listening to Colin lay out his dreams, I really saw a change in him. Once we got started, Colin, who is normally pretty quiet, really got into it and get excited. Everyone was throwing out ideas for how we could accomplish his dreams. It was a powerful moment”.
A few years later, most of the dreams Colin described have been accomplished. He has travelled to Mexico and taken a course in computer programming. He has regular visitors each week. He has a new friend and now Colin’s network is beginning to think about doing a new PATH to set some goals for the next few years.
“It’s really easy to get Colin dreaming about what he wants to do next”, says Rosalyn, his current community connector. Rosalyn has been Colin’s connector for four years now, and takes real pleasure from being a part of Colin’s life. “One of the great things about Colin’s network is meeting, sharing, and connecting with this wonderful group of people. The effect of this intelligent and gentle man on everyone is amazing! I am very thankful to be a part of it.”
Lee McKim has been a part of Colin’s network for six years. “I love how energetic and excited Colin is when the group is together. We took him down to the Art Gallery and everyone was laughing and enjoying themselves.”
Beryl still visits Colin on a regular basis and remains the primary person in Colin’s life. But now, Beryl worries a lot less about Colin’s future. He lives in a wonderful residence, has friends and family, and is well-cared for. Colin spends his time on his computer, entertaining visitors, going to church, and doing all the things he loves.
Beryl knows that at some point she won’t be there anymore to help Colin and watch out for him. “That’s okay,” she says, “With his own personal support network that will be there for his lifetime, Colin will always be surrounded by people who love and care for him.”