Inclusion Lethbridge (LACL)-PLAN provides assistance in developing and expanding a network of friends and supporters committed to individuals living in social isolation, often due to a disability.
A Social Network is a group of committed men and women who are in a relationship with a person who may be isolated and vulnerable by reason of disability, living arrangement, limited opportunities, or society’s perceptions.
Social Networks are facilitated by an LACL-PLAN Facilitator/Community Connector. While the Community Connector is paid, the people involved in a social network are not paid to be a part of the individual’s life. Rather, their involvement is based on caring, friendship, love, and a commitment to being a part of the individual’s life. They often include family members, friends, neighbours, church members, and co-workers. They are accountants, lawyers, golfers, educators, students, travelers, and retail workers. They are you and me.
Social Networks increase social capital, they increase a community’s capacity to support itself and encourage everyone to recognize the value of all citizens. John McKnight, a leader in the movement to encourage full participation of all citizens, points out that “for those whose emptiness cannot be filled by human services, the most obvious need is the opportunity to express and share their gifts, skills, capacities, and abilities with friends, neighbours, and fellow citizens”.
The Four Principles of PLAN
PLAN is guided and inspired by four core principles:
- Caring relationships are the key to safety, security and a good life.
- People with disabilities have important contributions to make to our communities, and they should be recognized for their contributions.
- Independence from government funding builds resiliency and allows individuals and families to make decisions without fear of consequences.
- PLAN is structured to ensure it will always be directed by and accountable to families.