Everyone should have the opportunity to have dreams, hopes and wishes

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Support system should include family, friends and acquaintances
Monday September 12, 2011 — Deb Bartlett

Person-centredness works when you have people in your corner, says Lyn King.

The senior manager of human resources and quality assurance, Lyn has worked for the Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion (BACI) for 23 years.

She says person-centred planning gives BACI structure to put into play the services people need. Those services are evaluated and modified, then evaluated again on a regular basis.

“It’s a circle. It’s a cycle we go through. Without it, I don’t know how people figure out how to support people,” she says.

Lyn has first-hand experience witnessing the value of an advocate who “recognizes the spark inside them and helps to voice that and helps to build the network of support around them.”

Lyn says if people don’t have family or people who are not paid to be in their life, they’re more vulnerable.

“As economic times ebb and flow, the lives of the people we support can become shaky . . .  if one of those people who have always been in your corner are gone, then your world is falling apart and shatters,” says Lyn.

She says building a natural support network made up of not just family, but friends and acquaintances through memberships and places they belong, like church or a fitness centre or a club is important to everyone.

Person-centred planning doesn’t look the same for every person BACI supports, and it doesn’t need to, says Lyn. What’s important is that everybody has the opportunity to have dreams and hopes and wishes and is respected enough to have people take the time to figure them out.

Lyn says it’s imperative to find a way to “give people a voice to discover what they want to get out of their life and to be creative about how we help them to achieve that without being reliant on services.”

“The things that make me happy are the places I belong and the people that I’m with and how those things make me feel, not an agency that meets with me and sets my goals every year,” says Lyn.

If you would like to comment on this story, or want to share success stories of person-centred planning, call Deb at 800-294-0051, or e-mail deb(at)axiomnews.ca.

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