A Manual for Person-Centered Planning Facilitators

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1 A Manual for Person-Centered Planning Facilitators Angela Novak Amado, Ph.D. and Marijo McBride, M.Ed. Institute on Community Integration UAP University of Minnesota This document is funded in part by grant #41286 from the Minnesota Department of Human Services

2 Preparation of this report was supported by a grant from the Minnesota Department of Human Services. The content does not necessarily reflect an official position of the Minnesota Department of Human Services or the University of Minnesota. The recommended citation for this manual is Amado, A. N. and Mc Bride, M. (2001), Increasing Person-Centered Thinking: Improving the Quality of Person-Centered Planning: A Manual for Person-Centered Planning Facilitators. Minneapolis, Minnesota: University of Minnesota, Institute on Community Integration. The University of Minnesota is committed to the policy that all persons shall have equal access to its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status or sexual orientation. i

3 SOME NOTES ON USING THIS MANUAL We have seen that for both people who know little about Person-Centered Planning, and for those who have been using the methods and ideas for a long time, the search for greater understanding, power, and quality in the process is never-ending. There are many manuals already available on how to facilitate Person-Centered Plans. This manual was prepared not to duplicate information already available, but rather to improve the quality of person-centered plans that are being conducted. This manual was prepared as part of a two-year training project on Person-Centered Planning funded by the Minnesota Department of Human Services and conducted by the Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota. This training was one part of a five-year demonstration project called Performance-Based Contracting, to determine the usefulness of personal outcomes as a method of determining service quality. This manual is intended to be used as a resource in training programs on Person-Centered Planning. For those who have already had some or much training and experience in these processes, we also intend this manual to be useful in improving the quality of facilitation. Most of the information contained herein uses the foundation of Personal Futures Planning. We recommend that if people wish to use Essential Lifestyle Planning or PATH (Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope) that they participate in the specific training programs developed for those methods, which each start with a 3-day facilitator training. Some of the manuals which we recommend, in conjunction with specific training workshops, for specific how-to methods include: PERSONAL FUTURES PLANNING Person-Centered Planning: Finding Directions for Change Using Personal Futures Planning, Beth Mount, Graphic Futures, Inc., 25 W. 81 st St. #16-B, New York, NY Capacity Works: Finding Windows for Change Using Personal Futures Planning, Beth Mount Communitas, Inc., The Community Place, 730 Main St., Manchester, CT A Workbook for Your Personal Passport. Allen, Shea & Associates, 1040 Main St., Suite 200B, Napa, CA WHOLE LIFE PLANNING Whole Life Planning: A Guide for Organizers and Facilitators. John Butterworth, David Hagner, Bonnie Heikkinen, Sherill Faris, Shirley DeMello, & Kristen McDonough. Institute for Community Inclusion, Children s Hospital, 300 Longwood Ave., Boston, MA ESSENTIAL LIFESTYLE PLANNING Listen to Me! USARC/PACE, 410 Mason Suite 105, Vacaville, CA ii

4 Supporting People with Severe Reputations in the Community. Michael Smull & Susan Burke Harrison, National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services, 113 Oronoco St., Alexandria, VA PATH PATH: A Workbook for Planning Positive Possible Futures, Jack Pearpoint, John O Brien & Marsha Forest, Inclusion Press, 24 Thome Cres., Toronto, Ontario, Canada M6H 2S5. OTHERS It s My Life : Facilitator s Guide. Emilee Curtis & Milly Dezelsky. New Hats, Inc., HC 64 Box 2509, Castle Valley, UT Person-Centered Planning: A Guide for Facilitators. Debbie Gilmer & Alan Kurtz, Center for Community Inclusion, Maine s University Affiliated Program, University of Maine, December iii

5 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The material herein was developed as part of the Performance Based Contracting Demonstration Project, a project operated by the Minnesota Department of Human Services with waivers and a training grant from the federal Health Care Financing Administration. Five agencies providing residential care in intermediate care facilities participated in this project. The Minnesota State Department of Human Services contracted with the University of Minnesota s Institute on Community Integration to provide training about Person-Centered Planning for two years to these provider agencies, the local Arc s, and staff of other agencies involved in the Performance-Based Contracting project. Fifty-three people participated in facilitator training and sixteen people participated in facilitator instructor training. We have to thank all of the facilitator trainees, focal people, and support circle members for their contributions to this project and this material: The staff of the Minnesota Department of Human Services Division for Minnesotans with Disabilities, especially Jan Kooistra and Theresa Mustonen. The staff, families, and persons served by ACR Homes, Bristol Place, Nekton, Heartland Homes, and New Directions. The people from other agencies who participated in the training project, including: Arc-Anoka Ramsey, Arc-Hennepin, Arc-Bemidji, Arc-St. Louis County, Hennepin County Developmental Disabilities Division, and Rise. We also must thank the people from and with whom we have learned so much about Person- Centered Planning. We have reprinted material from many different people and sources, and wish to thank these people for their generosity, sharing of resources, and guidance: Marsha Forest Debbie Gilmer Beth Mount Connie O Brien John O Brien Jack Pearpoint Michael Smull iv

6 REPRINT PERMISSION Acknowledgements also go to the following people, from whom we have learned everything we know about Person-Centered Planning. Reprint permission has been obtained from the following people: Boggs Center, University Affiliated Program of New Jersey at UMDNJ for the material on pp. 27, 28, 29, and 32, reprinted from Building Person-Centered Support, Part One Vision and Ideals, This material may not be reprinted without permission of the UAPNJ. Center for Community Inclusion,, University of Maine, for the material on pp. 24, 50-60, and the material on p. 38, How Person-Centered is your Person-Centered Plan, reprinted from Person-Centered Planning: A Guide for Facilitators, Marsha Forest and Jack Pearpoint, Inclusion Press, for the chart on p. 15. The learning checklists on p. 13, Musical Resources on p. 62, and Support Circles: the Heart of the Matter on p. 23 are reprinted from Inclusion News. Additional information can be obtained from the Inclusion News Web-page at: Please see additional information on ordering materials on pp Beth Mount, for material on pp. 21 and 22, reprinted from Person-Centered Planning: Finding Directions for Change Using Personal Futures Planning, 1997, and the material on pp reprinted from Capacity Works. The Person-Centered Planning manual can be ordered from: Dr. Beth Mount Graphic Futures, Inc. 25 W. 81 st St., 16-B New York, NY (212) v

7 FACILITATORS MANUAL CONTENTS 1. Introduction And Background Preparation Checklists Qualities Of A Facilitator Group Or Circle Constitution Facilitating A Plan Improving The Quality Of Plans Evaluating The Quality Of A Plan Follow Along Meetings/ Implementation Of The Plan Difficult Group Members And Challenging Situations Music And Graphics Articles And Resources Person-Centered Planning Resource Materials...72 vi

8 1. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND 1

9 INTRODUCTION Person-Centered Planning has been developed and evolved over the last fifteen-twenty years. Today the term is used to refer to a number of different styles of planning, all of which share fundamental values. In this section we provide an overview of the fundamental concepts and principles underlying this approach to planning. Some of the leaders in the initial and on-going development of Person-Centered Planning and its growth include Beth Mount, John O Brien, and Connie O Brien. Some of their central ideas are contained in the next few pages. Other leaders include Michael Smull and Susan Burke-Harrison, who developed a particular style of Person-Centered Planning called Essential Lifestyle Planning. ELP was initially designed for people with challenging behavior, but has been used in many applications. Marsha Forest and Jack Pearpoint were central in developing MAPS, initially used with planning school inclusion, and they have also developed a style of planning called PATH (Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope). This section provides an overview of the fundamental concepts, values, and principles underlying all Person-Centered Planning approaches. These ideas and values are probably the most important part of the process. One can master a technical style, but if the heart and soul of the process are missing, it is not Person-Centered Planning. 2

10 According to John O Brien and Herbert Lovett in Finding a Way Toward Everyday Lives, the term, Person-Centered Planning, refers to a family of approaches to organizing and guiding community change in alliance with people with disabilities and their families and friends. They also state that each approach to Person-Centered Planning has distinctive practices, but all share a common foundation of beliefs: The person at the focus of planning, and those who love the person, are the primary authorities on the person s life direction. The purpose of Person-Centered Planning is learning through shared action. People who engage in Person-Centered Planning may produce documentation of their meetings, proposals, contract specifications, or budgets. These are only footprints: the path is made by people walking together. Person-Centered Planning seems to change common patterns of community life. Segregation, devaluing stereotypes, and denial of opportunity for people with disabilities are common. Person-Centered Planning stimulates community hospitality and enlists community members in assisting focus people to define and to work toward a desirable future. In order to support the kinds of community changes necessary to improve people s chances for a desirable future, virtually all existing human service policies and agencies will have to change the ways they regard people, the ways they relate to communities, the ways they spend money, the ways they define staff roles and responsibilities, and the ways they exercise authority. Honest Person-Centered Planning can only come from respect for the dignity and completeness of the focus person. Assisting people to define and pursue a desirable future tests one s clarity, commitment, and courage. Person-Centered Planning engages powerful emotional and ethnical issues and calls for sustained search for effective ways to deal with difficult barriers and conflicting demands. Those who treat Person-Centered Planning simply as a technique and those who fail to provide for their own development and support will offer little benefit to the people they plan with. 3

11 Beth Mount comments on the dichotomies between system-centered and person-centered ways of thinking about an individual s future in her 1992 sourcebook Person-Centered Planning: Finding Directions for Change Using Personal Futures Planning : HOW DO WE THINK ABOUT AND PLAN FOR THE FUTURE? Person-centered change challenges us to discover and invent a personal dream for people, to craft a pattern of living that increases people s participation and belonging in community life. From SYSTEM-CENTERED Toward PERSON-CENTERED Plan a lifetime of programs Craft a desirable lifestyle Offer a limited number of usually segregated program options Base options on stereotypes about persons with disabilities Focus on filling slots, beds, placements, closures Overemphasize technologies and clinical strategies Organize to please funders, regulators, policies, and rules Design an unlimited number of desirable experiences Find new possibilities for each person Focus on quality of life Emphasize dreams, desires, and meaningful experience Organize to respond to people O Brien and O Brien s five valued experiences (Framework for Accomplishment, 1989) also lead to other questions on which to focus in developing a more desirable future: COMMUNITY PRESENCE: How can we increase the presence of a person in local community life? COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION: How can we expand and deepen people s friendships? VALUED ROLES: How can we enhance the reputation people have and increase the number of valued ways people can contribute? PROMOTING CHOICE: How can we help people have more control and choice in life? SUPPORTING CONTRIBUTION: How can we assist people to develop more competencies and contribute their unique gifts? 4

12 Beth Mount has also described the differences in images of the future in traditional program plans compared to futures that are worth working for. The images of a future worth working for can result only from a more person-centered process. CONTRASTING IMAGES OF THE FUTURE CHARACTERISTICS OF TRADITIONAL PROGRAM PLANS: Goals focus on specific negative behaviors of the focus person to change or decrease. The plan identifies program categories and service options that are often segregated. Many goals and objectives reflect potentially minor accomplishments that can be attained within existing programs without making any changes. These plans will look similar to the plans and ideas written for other people. These plans will probably not even mention personal relationships or community life. CHARACTERISTICS OF A POSITIVE FUTURE WORTH WORKING FOR: Images of the future contain specific, concrete examples of positive activities, experiences, and life situations to increase. Ideas and possibilities reflect specific community sites and settings and valued roles within those settings. Some ideas will seem far out, unrealistic, and impractical, and will require major changes in existing patterns such as: funding categories, service options, how people (and staff) spend their time, shared decision making, where people live and work, etc. These plans will really reflect the unique interests, gifts, and qualities of the person, and the unique characteristics, settings, and life of the local community. These ideas will emphasize creative ways to focus on the development and deepening of personal relationships and community life. In What We Are Learning About Circles of Support, by Mount, Ducharme, and Beeman (1989), three types of planning for people with disabilities are contrasted. This comparison is on the next three pages. The type most true to original concepts of Person-Centered Planning are Circles of Support. Such circles often require sustenance outside of formal systems. Some more traditional and formal teams have tried to adapt themselves to operate according to more personcentered principles, and their efforts and style are represented in the column called Person- Centered Teams. 5

13 A COMPARISON OF THREE TYPES OF PLANNING FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES TRADITIONAL PLANNING PERSON-CENTERED TEAMS CIRCLES OF SUPPORT PURPOSE OF THE PLANNING MEETING To coordinate services across disciplinary lines. To clarify staff roles in the implementation of training programs. COMPOSITION OF THE TEAM Professionals and specialists To establish a common vision for all participants. To discover information needed to focus organizational change. Professionals, direct service workers. May include focus person and family. To establish and support a personal vision for an individual. To build community support and action on behalf of the focus person. Focus person and his spokesperson, family, friends, and associates. May include some human services workers. WHERE DOES THE TEAM MEET? Human service setting conference room: centralized site. Human Service Setting close to direct service workers: group home, workshop: decentralized site. Community settings: living room, church room, and library meeting room. Places close to where members live. HOW OFTEN DOES THE GROUP MEET? Once a year with quarterly reviews. Major investment in initial sessions. Quarterly or monthly reviews. Once a year with many submeetings in between for ongoing problem solving. 6

14 TRADITIONAL PLANNING PERSON-CENTERED TEAMS CIRCLES OF SUPPORT WHO INITIATES THE MEETING FOR WHAT PURPOSE? Team Leader initiates to meet requirements of regulations. Organizational change agent initiates to find new directions for the organization. Focus person or spokesperson initiates to reach goals they are unable to accomplish working alone. WHAT MOTIVATES PEOPLE TO ATTEND THE MEETING? Avoidance of punishment by regulators. Interest in coordination of departmental units. NATURE OF THE IMAGES FOR THE FUTURE: Interest in organizational innovation and finding new directions for focus person. Voluntary commitment by people who are interested in helping someone they care for. Goals will fit within existing program options. Goals will reflect new program models and options yet to be developed. Vision will reflect desire of focus person and family. ROLES OF MEMBERS AND BOUNDARIES FOR ACTION: Members have specific roles and clear boundaries for action. Plans do not change roles or boundaries. Members act within formal existing organizational channels of authority. Members roles will change based on new directions. Old boundaries for action may be changed to allow for new action. Plans may change roles and create new agendas for action. Members create new channels and connections to accomplish their goals. Participant roles are constantly changing based on tasks. Boundaries for action are defined by personal vision and commitment of group members. Members use informal networks and contacts to open doors in community. PRODUCT OF AN EFFECTIVE GROUP MEETING: Completed forms, paperwork. Specific goals to use to evaluate program effectiveness. An agenda for organizational change. A shared understanding of new directions for change. Commitments to action by community members. Significant quality of life changes for the focus person. 7

15 TRADITIONAL PLANNING PERSON-CENTERED TEAMS CIRCLES OF SUPPORT ROLE OF HUMAN SERVICE WORKER: Set all direction. Organize all activity. Coordinate direct service worker activities. Mediate interests of providers and focus person. Lead organizational change efforts. Listen to direct service workers. Support directions defined by the group. Increase knowledge of available resources. Provide direct services to focus person. ROLE OF COMMUNITY MEMBER: Not involved in the process. May help implement some ideas. Generate and implement plan and action steps. ROLE OF PERSON WITH A DISABILITY: Comply with the plan. Cooperate in the development of the plan. Direct plan and activities. From: What are We Learning About Circles of Support by Beth Mount, Bat Beeman, and George Ducharme. Available from Communitas, P.O. Box 374, Manchester, Connecticut Reprinted with the permission of the Boggs Center (1991), UAPNJ at MNDN. May not be reprinted without permission. 8

16 2. PREPARATION CHECKLISTS 9

17 CHECKLIST FOR PERSON-CENTERED PLANNING MEETING PREPARATION PRE-WORK FOR THE FACILITATOR TO DO OR ENSURE IS DONE BY PERSON COORDINATING THE MEETING PRIOR TO THE MEETING: What are the right processes for the person, the team/support circle and the person s situation? Is there a committed champion who will make sure the plan remains alive? Has the planning process been discussed with the support circle members? Do they have information on the process and time requirements? Have circle members had input to the decision about the planning process? Have you discussed with the person coordinating the meeting which parts of which process will be used, how to address the current issues, etc.? THE FACILITATOR SHOULD BE RESPONSIBLE FOR ENSURING THE FOLLOWING: Has the meeting preparation been a coordinated effort? Either clear or ensure that the different members (person served, residence, day program/employment, case manager, family, etc.) have been cleared regarding the meeting format and who will do that. Is this meeting serving as meeting the annual or any other requirements? Are circle members learning whether this is a separate or the only process? If necessary, set a meeting time separate from the annual meeting to help team members have a different frame of mind and to think outside the service system box. If Person-Centered Planning formats are going to be used as a substitute for annual or other requirements, ensure that the case manager, day program, and residence are all clear about the formats that will be used. Has the residence coordinated with the day program that the format is that of a circle group process, not one agency doing their part, then another agency presenting their part during the meeting (including/especially if this process is used for annuals or other meetings required by one of the agencies involved)? Who will facilitate, record, etc., during different parts of the meeting? Is the meeting location comfortable and does it meet the space requirements needed (for instance, where will posters be hung?) Have preparations been coordinated with the focus person? Have invitations been sent to all the members the person wants? Have people been invited who are beyond the traditional team and who can help the person identify a desirable future? Is the focus person comfortable about the process? Is there a welcoming environment (food, flowers, balloons, candles, etc.)? 10

18 Do you have paper, markers, tape, etc.? Do any ground rules need to be set for the circle? Are there any topics, words, or phrases to avoid? AT THE MEETING: Help the focus person decide where they want people to sit, if possible. Does the seating arrangement ensure that everyone is included and no one appears more important? Ask about timelines, times people need to leave. Set up ground rules. Use them. Will breaks be needed? How often? AT THE END OF THE MEETING: How will copies of what has been done get to people who need them? When will the next meeting occur? 11

19 EXAMPLES OF GROUND RULES GROUND RULES FOR ESSENTIAL LIFESTYLE PLANNING 1. Be respectful 2. No jargon 3. No fixing 4. No obsessing 5. Have fun GROUND RULES FROM PATH 1. The right people are here 2. It begins when it begins and ends when it ends 3. Do what you need to do to be here 4. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have happened 5. Do unto others. If #5 doesn t work, TEXAS RULE: Be nice or GET OUT LISTEN (really listen) ASK (for what you want, assistance for help to pursue questions) CONTRIBUTE (when moved) 12

20 Introductory MAPS learning checklist I have Watched the Shafik s MAP video Read All my life s a circle, pp Action for inclusion What s really worth doing From behind the piano Answered the sequence of MAPS questions reflectively, for myself, with facilitation, and provided the facilitator/ recorder with feedback. Facilitated another person in answering the MAPS questions, and received feedback on my facilitation. Made a graphic record of another person answering the MAPS questions and received feedback on my recording. Developed a set of notes for myself on What I want to review before I facilitate a MAP. Made agreements with at least two other people who will support my practice with MAPS by encouraging me and debriefing with me. Identified a family I will approach to be my partners in taking the next step by allowing me to facilitate a MAP with them. Introductory PATH learning checklist I have Watched the Introductory PATH training video. Read All my life s a circle, pp PATH Workbook Been a PATHfinder on an issue that matters to me, and provided the facilitator and recorder with feedback (i.e., I have had my own PATH done) Facilitated another person s PATH, and received feedback on my facilitation. Acted as a graphic recorder for another person s PATH and received feedback on my recording. Developed a set of notes for myself on What I want to review before I facilitate a PATH. Made agreements with at least two other people who will support my practice with PATH by encouraging me and debriefing with me. Identified a person or group I will approach to be my partners in taking the next step by allowing me to facilitate a PATH with them. Reprinted with permission from Inclusion News. 13

21 3. QUALITIES OF A FACILITATOR 14

22 Reprinted with permission from Marsha Forest and Jack Pearpoint. 15

23 LEVELS OF COMMITMENT TO PERSON-CENTERED PLANNING EMBRACE SUPPORT BELIEVE NEUTRAL YES BUT 16

24 TRAITS OF A PERSON-CENTERED PLANNING FACILITATOR QUALITIES/ DECLARATIVE THE WHAT A GOOD FACILITATOR: 1. Believes in the Person-Centered Planning philosophy 2. Holds a true understanding of the assumptions of Person-Centered Planning 3. Is committed to the Person-Centered Planning process 4. Supports the Person-Centered Planning process 5. Understands and implements the logistical techniques of Person-Centered Planning, including: Supporting the focus person Inviting appropriate group members Fostering a welcoming environment that supports creativity Graphics skills Group facilitation skills 6. Fosters commitment and support from members of the support circle to the Person-Centered Planning process and the action plan 7. Uses humor! A GOOD FACILITATOR IS: 8. Non-Judgmental 9. A Good Listener 10. Self-Confident 11. Flexible 12. Genuine 13. Hospitable 17

25 PROCEDURES AND PROCESS THE HOW A GOOD FACILITATOR: 1. Knows how to facilitate a person-centered plan. 2. Uses pacing to move the Person-Centered Planning process along at a rate that works for the focus person and the circle of support. 3. Uses good listening skills. 4. Uses team work to enhance the effectiveness of the Person-Centered Planning process. 5. Resolves any conflict constructively. 6. Uses consensus building. 7. Fosters the self-determination of the focus person so the person-centered plan is created by and with them and not for them. 8. Builds relationships with the members of the circle of support so they will participate in the work of the action plan on an ongoing basis. 9. Helps the group CELEBRATE successes and accomplishments, and grieve over upsets and breakdowns. 18

26 4. GROUP OR CIRCLE CONSTITUTION 19

27 GROUP OR CIRCLE CONSTITUTION A Person-Centered Planning circle is not the same as a person s interdisciplinary team. One of the best ways to determine who should be in a circle is for the facilitator to sit down with the focus person (and/or their representative, if needed) and draw a relationship map. The first questions to ask would be Who are your best friends? Who do you love the most? Who loves you the most? Then the facilitator can fill in the rest of the map with the person and/or their representative. The facilitator can also ask about community places the focus person goes to, and who they see there. The facilitator can actively seek out who are community members who can be invited to join the person s circle. Once the map is complete, the facilitator asks the person who they would like to have participate in this planning. Then together they figure out how these people should be invited to come to the planning meeting. 20

28 INTER-VISIONARY TEAM A planning group that is true to the principles of Person-Centered Planning does not come together because of professional roles and requirements. A Person-Centered Planning group is constituted of people who want to contribute their time and talents because they care about the particular focus person and want to work for change. AN IDEAL PERSON-CENTERED PLANING GROUP CONSISTS OF A VARIETY OF PEOPLE AND ROLES: Family members - provides a historical perspective, strong alliance with the focus person Homemaker is the guardian of hospitality for the circle Personal assistants are responsible for day-to-day responsiveness to the person Warrior focuses on immediate and long-range actions to help implement the plan Teacher provides information and skills to the circle to help implement the plan Community builder may have many connections, invites and brings others into the circle and the person s life, both to strengthen the circle and help in implementing the plan Administrative ally can see and advocate for administrative changes that might be needed both for this focus person and for long-term change Mentor can provide information, guidance and insight that will help in long-term change Benefactor may assist in providing what s needed for long-term change Spiritual advisor renews the faith of the person and the group over time Facilitator provides focus, keeps the process going, keeps the group focused on and clear about the vision and action to implement it Reprinted with permission of Beth Mount from Person-Centered Planning: Finding Directions for Change Using Personal Futures Planning, New York, NY: Graphic Futures, Inc. (1997) 21

29 Reprinted with permission of Beth Mount from Person-Centered Planning: Finding Directions for Change Using Personal Futures Planning, New York, NY: Graphic Futures, Inc. (1997) 22

30 Support Circles: The Heart of the Matter Marsha Forest, Jack Pearpoint & Judith Snow November 1995 and family. This data has reinforced our initial feelings that building circles around everyone is a matter of life and death. It is not frivolous. It is not the soft stuff. It is the core. Unless we build this foundation of support the rest of what we do may fall in disarray in the long run. The beautiful Maori proverb from the Aboriginal people of New Zealand sums up for us the meaning of the concept of support circles. What is the greatest and most precious thing in the world. I say to you. Tis people, tis people, tis people. When people come to our workshops they often ask us to do circles. Our answer is that you don t do circles, you live circles. The circle of friends exercise is a useful and creative tool. But a circle is not a casual tool. A circle is the result of building committed relationships. When people say to us, We did a circle and it didn t work we know that they have missed the point. It is like saying I did life and it didn t work. Circles are life support systems. They can make the difference between life and death for any human being. We know this not because we have used circle building outside our own lives, but because in several points of crisis both personally and professionally we had to walk our own talk. i.e. call together our friends to literally save our own lives. That is why in our work with professionals we do not start with the others not with the recipients of service, not with the students, but with the participants themselves. We ask them the reflective question, Who is in my life? In a crisis who would I call? And the most scary question of all who would come? Circles of Support Intimacy Friendship Participation Exchange Fill from the outside-in We know. Just this summer 1995, Marsha went from health to major cancer surgery overnight. Now she is healing thanks to dear friends who rallied around and helped us survive this crisis. We re on a full and exciting work schedule again. We reached out not simply by phone, but used the most updated systems. We were surrounded immediately by healing and hopeful messages, calls, music, prayers, and wishes from all over the globe. We are here today to tell the tale. Circles are not just for someone else. Circles are for all of us. Crisis also hit two other major players at the Center and Press. Shafik Assante had a recurrence of his cancer, but he too has rallied back after radiation, chemo treatments and the love and support of his circle. Shafik is convinced that all our work in inclusion shrinks tumors. We are grateful he is back at full speed. And Judith Snow went to the San Francisco TASH conference and ended up in the hospital with pneumonia. The circle gathered led by Richard Rosenberg, Jay Klein, Joe Wykowski, and Martha Leary. Judith was surrounded and supported. Best of all, according to Judith, was being flown home to Toronto in her own private white shiny Lear Jet (medivac). She cloud surfed and saw the stars on a bright night at 41,100 feet. She is well, thriving in her doctoral program at OISE and coming over for a spaghetti dinner to celebrate health and friendship. We are taking care of Jack to make sure he stays healthy. We live the circle. It is a life giver for us all. We are here today to tell the tale. Circles are not just for someone else. Circles are for all of us. We have learned from the health and resilience literature that very few people can survive any major life crisis without the support of friends What is the greatest and most precious thing in the world? I say to you, Tis people, tis people, tis people! 23

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