What does it mean to be connected to others?
To live in a community where you belong and are valued?
To be able to share your gifts and talents with others, and for others to honour and recognize your ongoing contributions?
To know you will never be alone because you have a network of friends who you can depend on?
Recently, a few PLAN Lifetime Members and their networks shared their stories about being connected.
To hear Todd Oseki and his network sharing their stories about being connected CLICK HERE. And below is an interview with Sandra Roy sharing her stories about being connected.
Stories About My Network – by Sandra Roy
Who are the people involved in your network, how are they involved, and why is it important for them to be involved?
There are 11 people in my network including my mom and my brother and a cousin. Most of the network members are my mother’s friends. We try to get the whole group together once or twice a year for a pizza and games night. Six members of the group are mainly phone contacts for me to call if I want to talk anytime and especially in an emergency. They are part of my calling tree. The other five take a more active role. My mom and I do lots of things with two of the people in my network. We go to movies, concerts, out for dinners and they go with us to most PLAN get-togethers like Christmas parties and the annual picnic. The other three are faithful telephone friends that I can call just to chat and I love visiting with them. One of them took part in Sophie’s music group twice. It’s important for them to be involved because I know the group is there when I want to talk to someone or I need help.
What role do you play in the network?
I am a caring person so I like to find out how my people are doing and I like using the phone to find out how they are doing and how their family members are doing. I am also funny and I make people laugh.
Why is it important for you to have a network?
It is important for me to have a network so I have people to talk to if I am lonely or have a problem and I have friends I know care about me. I know they will be there for me in an emergency.
Before this, had you heard about networks and was it helpful for you?
I didn’t know anything about networks. I was very happy when I got a network. I knew all of the people and felt very lucky that they wanted to be part of my network.
What difference does having a network make for you and what have you gained from having a network?
Having a network has made a big difference to my life because I know I have people who care about me now and will be there for me when I need help. I have gained confidence and a sense of belonging to something very special.
Can you share a time when you felt a sense of community with your network?
I felt a real sense of community with my network and PLAN staff when my mom had an accident in February and was at the hospital for many hours. As soon as PLAN staff found out, people were at my house making sure I was okay. They stayed with me until my mom came home. Members of my network kept in touch to make sure we were both okay and brought over food and volunteered any help we might need. I was so grateful and so happy to be a part of the PLAN community.
What do you hope comes from your network and wow do you view your network’s role going forward?
I hope my network will be there to support me if something happens to my mom. I’m afraid of being all alone without her and so I am hoping my network will be there offering me comfort and ways for me to carry on without her. My view of my network going forward is that it will get smaller because many of the people are older and may not be able to help anymore. I hope the rest of the group will find ways to stay actively involved with me. Maybe they could work as a group to plan activities so I feel like I have friends and I am important.
What are 2 to 3 great moments you have experienced with your network?
My first network meeting when we had a pizza and games night at my mom’s place. Going skating at the Richmond Arena and my cousin and family all came. And going to Heritage Village.
A friend of yours hears you have a network and asks you to tell them a story of what this is about. What story would you tell them?
A network is having a group of people whose job it is to care about you and to help you have things to do and to be ready to help you find happiness and security in your life. It can help you make new friends or try out some new activities. It will be there when you have emergencies in your life.
What gifts of yours have you been able to share with your network?
Caring about others, a sense of humour, making people laugh, singing and love of music.
We’d love to hear more about YOUR experiences.
What are your stories about Personal Support Networks?
If you have a Personal Support Network and you’d like to share your stories CLICK HERE to share now!
If you are a member of a Personal Support Network and you’d like to share your stories CLICK HERE to share now!