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Welcome to the July e-newsletter for the Spectrum 101 Friends Personal Support Networks Project!

June 30, 2010
Lyle and Mary Romer, 20+ year veteran Board Member (and author of Idiocy: A Cultural History) Patrick McDonagh, Aaron and Sally Sehmsdorf

A couple of the great things about this project have been the opportunity to bring people together to talk about a subject that we and they are so excited about, and another opportunity has been that we’ve been able to meet people who are thinking about some of the same things that we’re thinking – Sally Sehmsdorf has long been an active advocate and supporter of people with disabilities living creative, included lives, and Mary and Lyle Romer are long-time heros.   Mary was the force behind the well-known (and much appreciated) Ellensburg Conference that so many people found transformational in the early days of de-institutionalisation – one of the few places people could go and learn practical skills around facilitation.   Lyle has been the President of TASH and an important force in the U.S. Disability rights movement.   I first met Sally at an amazing and memorable workshop which she co-facilitated with Connie Lyle O’Brien on the simple and elegant idea of how to welcome – how to create welcoming spaces, how to welcome people in…  lovely.   I spent that afternoon with a self-advocate who had been in an institution for fifty years and recently gone to a family reunion to meet family he’d never met before, his best friend (who had become his caregiver) and an architect who had become an E.D. and was delighted and puzzled by so much of what we take for granted.   I think of it often.   Cheryl Hughes, who introduces us to so many wonderful people, facilitated the introductions.  

So, very fun, when Sally, Lyle and Mary called to say that they were travelling up from Seattle and could we get together.   Patrick was in town, and Ernie, and we had a great brunch talking about good ideas and great ideas and not spending much time on things that aren’t working.   The three of them, with Mary at the helm, are the forces behind TLC – Total Living Concept – which supports person-centred living in the Kent area.  

A lot of exciting things happened over the last month – great workshop with the Victoria self-advocates, wonderful B.C. People First conference and a terrific week in Grand Forks where we got to meet some of the city officials, staff, families and folks who are supported there, as well as hang out for an evening with Andrew and Jane Green – another couple who have worked to change things in the province for people with disabilities, and another meal full of good ideas and great ideas and hardly any attention paid to ideas that aren’t working…   hmm…  a theme of food and positivity is a good thing. 

But this issue is mostly dedicated to Michael Kendrick, with whom we got to spend a couple of days talking about leadership and the future.    We came away inspired, and Chris Lee, one of our friends and supporters, wrote a great overview of the days.   Also coming up is a workshop that Susan and I are facilitating on the “The Changing Role of Community Support Workers” which will be fun and productive.  


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