How does PLAN create networks?

It starts by being intentional.

It’s not always easy to build a Personal Support Network. For many people with disabilities, it requires specific and conscious attention. That’s where PLAN can help.

Our Network Development Team starts by collaborating with families to identify network priorities and create a workplan for the first six months. These workplans are updated every six months, and families are sent monthly updates to ensure progress is being made on the priorities identified.

To guide our network development process, we explore your relative’s gifts, interests and current routines. The focus is getting to know each other and gathering information about current relationships that exist. We also focus learning about personal interests, and health and safety considerations.

After identifying the existing network, together we identify opportunities to deepen current relationships and explore their community to meet new people. We pay special attention to places and groups where people share similar gifts and interests, and we seek out opportunities to connect with careful intention. It doesn’t happen overnight, but over time new relationships will develop. This is how we build a network.

As personal and family priorities shift over time, the network will also shift accordingly. It may start as a small group, but as we facilitate opportunities to connect, the network will grow.A few times a year, there may also be more formal meetings and conversations about planning and creating action around the person’s goals and dreams. Coming together as a group is an important part of learning together and updating priorities.

We do not use a volunteer bank. We use an asset-based approach to identify personal gifts, and then rely on the power of networking and friendship based on those gifts. This includes: joining community groups, planning potluck suppers, and introducing people who  might be compatible.