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Welcome to the Personal Support Networks e-Newsletter

April 30, 2009
by

cupcakesThanks for joining us on this journey in our workshops and through this virtual conversation.   Please don’t be shy about sending things in to share with others; we’ve been gathering about 80 new subscribers a month – all of whom believe, as we do, that it’s time to talk about folks with disabilities in terms of the gifts they offer to our communities and our own circles of friends.   If you’re getting this newsletter you probably believe this too.   Send your submissions to psn@spectrumsociety.org

In our house, we’ve been getting ready for graduation with our foster-daughter.   Who knew what a big deal this would all be?   So many rites of passage, all happening at once – she turns 19 one week, she graduates a few weeks later and then off to the prom in a gown worthy of a princess and a transition to CLBC and a new service provider in there as well.   Her first drink, her first limo, her first gown, her first PWD cheque…   meetings (that aren’t as much fun as she’d hoped) and opening a chequing account (which was fun) and on-line banking (not fun) and shopping (ultra-fun).    We decided to have a little party for her birthday and she said we had to use facebook to invite everyone.   So she had to teach us how and we did.   It really is fun – people get to write best wishes on the “party wall” and they can upload photos.  

One of the best parts of the graduation experience was being asked to help fund-raise for a young woman who wanted a prom dress.   Our foster-daughter, who has herself saved $5 a week for a year to afford to look like a fairy princess (complete with tiara), got busy making cupcakes for a bake-sale and in the process discovered food colouring.   Life will never be the same I think.    It was great to see how energising it was, for both our kids, to feel they were helping someone accomplish a dream.  

Our book finally made it onto a number of online booksellers.    Search under “Kurliak 101 friends” on amazon (on it’s American, Canadian, English or German sites) or on Barnes and Noble (U.S.).    While amazon.ca will offer free shipping if you order a couple of copies or order it with something else (I really recommend “Riding The Bus With My Sister”) the price, once it translates between our U.S. publisher’s dollars and Canadian funds, is about 27.00.   We continue to be able to offer copies in bulk.    We do love hearing stories about how people are using it in their self-advocate groups, so do email us. 

We’re getting ever closer to finishing our DVD of “101 Ways to Make Friends” and hope to have it done sometime in June.   We’ve been testing it out on various audiences and the reactions have been great.    We’ll keep you posted!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Felicia Mareels permalink
    May 3, 2009 3:39 am

    I am the mother of a grown son named Jan who has Tuberous Sclerosis. `He is an exceptionally fit man with a passionate interest in weight lifting and has been in Special Olympics for approx. 10 years now. At this point my son has maintained a silver and gold winning status for four years. He has played guitar since he was in his early teens and still has lessons every week. Music means a lot to Jan especially since his elder brother has been a professional drummer in a number of alternative rock bands since he was a teen. A few years ago Spectrum took special needs persons to Mount Kilimonjaro and it was a thrill of a life time to go to Africa, be the first to reach the mountain top and learn so much about the people and the culture of that region.

    • May 3, 2009 5:54 am

      He’s an inspiration to so many of us, and the photo of him and Ray on the mountain top is one of the highlights of our agency. Thanks for writing!

  2. Felicia Mareels permalink
    May 3, 2009 7:43 am

    I am the mother of a grown son named Jan who has Tuberous Sclerosis. `He is an exceptionally fit man with a passionate interest in weight lifting and has been in Special Olympics for approx. 10 years now. At this point my son has maintained a silver and gold winning status for four years. He has practiced marshal arts and played guitar since he was in his early teens and still has guitar lessons every week. Music means a lot to Jan especially since his elder brother has been a professional drummer in a number of alternative rock bands since he was a teen. Jan’s a person who must be active or his mind goes over- time. He’s worked in the same factory for 10 years and feels with frequent lay-offs and the boredom of the work it is time for a change. At present he is learning how to look for a new job with THEO’S assistance. It’s great to see him go through the steps and gain confidence in his skills. A few years ago Spectrum took special needs persons to Mount Kilimonjaro and it was a thrill of a life time to go to Africa,and to be the first to reach the mountain top with his asstant Ray Hunter. He learned so much about the people and the culture of that region and it gave him a new sense of compassion for those less fortunate than himself/
    Jan is a very social person in many ways however he has difficulty finding friends he can relate to. I guess I could say that for him being a “high functioning person with disabilities” is both a blessing and a curse as parents and friends of these unique individuals well know. I personally have never met anyone as brave as my son who is always looking to improve his emotional health and social skills by going to counselling. Gradually he is becoming self-aware,working through layers of issues and finding ways to understand and appreciate himself and others. At the center of all his inner work is his deep desire to find someone special to love. This is not an easy task either because although Jan dated girls until he was 25 he gradually realised that he prefered the company of men. It was scary at first because like all young persons with no experience he found himself in some bad situations. Now he is wiser but sadly afraid to date. I have been thinking how I might assist him, wondering if there may be a person you may know that would appreciate meeting Jan. Although Jan is 38 and mature in many ways he seems to relate well to persons in their mid-tenties into the fourties. He is a very spiritual person with a natural ability to send healing energy to others. He meditates, practices chi-gong and loves doing visualizations.
    It can be difficult for everyone to find a special someone, but heaven knows so much more so when one is disabled. If anyone has suggestions or ideas, please, I’d love to hear from you.

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