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Welcome to 101 Friends

Our 101 Ways to Make Friends Book and Website will share strategies for creating, expanding and deepening networks of support for folks with disabilities, their supporters, friends and families... for our workshop schedule, check out

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You can buy the book at Amazon or direct from us on our Book Order Site.

David Pitonyak – in Burnaby, October 26th and 29th

October 1, 2015

HomeShareFamilyWe’ve enjoyed our work with David Pitonyak so much over the past several years – a series of talks, workshops, discussions of our strategic plan and case studies for more complex folks.   Given that so much of our support has transitioned to Home Share or Shared Living models, as it has around the province, we’re really excited about this upcoming conversation which we’ve organized in response to some of the folks we met in our Home Share Conversations project last year.  This event is designed for those who share their lives with people they care about, and hopes to give them time to meet, talk and question.   Some tickets still available for both events; lunch included.    

David Pitonyak for Shared Living Folks: The Importance of Belonging.  Monday, 26 October 2015 from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM at the Burnaby Rowing Club.  

One of the things we like is that working with David allows us to engage in a new conversation about complex and challenging situations.   His background in behaviourism and the understanding he’s come to over some decades of travelling the world and hearing and being part of many people’s stories allows him to share a rare expertise.  That he’s a masterful story-teller makes it all even easier to listen to!

David Pitonyak: Beyond “Behaviors”: Supporting Competence, Confidence, and Well-Being.  Thursday, 29 October 2015 from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM at the Burnaby Rowing Club.  

Reduced rates for both events for agency teams of 5 or those affiliated with PLAN, the Family Support Institute or British Columbia’s teachers and other instructional staff in schools and colleges.

Questions?  Please contact Judy Smith or phone (604-323-1433).

Information on Voting in the Federal Election!

September 18, 2015

Make sure your voice is heard!


People First Canada’s president, Kory Earle, encourages everyone to get out and vote saying:

I want to especially encourage people with intellectual disabilities to vote. It is our right and we should use it. Many advocates who came before us worked hard to make sure that right was protected in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

But I also want to do more than that. I want to encourage people to be aware of what is happening in their communities. I want people to find out who their candidates are and what they stand for. I want people to be informed and involved and to use their voice and their vote this October.

I encourage you to get ready, get registered, and get your voice heard in October.

Elections Canada has a great website that:

  • allows you to see if you are registered to vote
  • lists identification requirements to vote
  • lists advance polling dates

The Canadian Association for Community Living has developed a summary of the key issues that are important to People with Disabilities and their families – Inclusion Matters.

All Candidates’ Meetings give you an opportunity to hear directly from candidates why they think they are the best choice to represent you in Ottawa.  Getting a chance to say hi and shake their hand can be helpful in deciding who you want to vote for.

Upcoming Meetings: (send us any meetings you hear about and we’ll add them to this list)

Additional Resources:  

David Pitonyak in Burnaby

August 31, 2015

DeepenAndExpandPitonyakTwo upcoming events with David Pitonyak.

David Pitonyak: Beyond “Behaviors”: Supporting Competence, Confidence, and Well-Being on October 29th and For Shared Living Folks: The Importance of Belonging on October 26th.

David is an inspiring speaker and story-teller who always gives us new perspectives on our work and helps us connect with what else is happening around the world as he brings back news from his travels.

Please consider joining us.  Discounts for FSI, B.C. People First, TASH and PLAN members and staff.  Group rates for agencies who want to participate as a team.

For more information contact or

99 Cents worth of Community Development

August 31, 2015

The smallest unit of community is the circle of friends.  There are many people talking these days about convening – how does one “host” and “convene” and “facilitate” a group that will come together to share an interest?

Joe Erpenbeck, past Director of Building Caring Communities, a PosAbilities project, had an eye for opportunities and the gaps that might be filled by what he talked about as community acupuncture – where might one insert the point that would create the relief out of which people would come together, talk, share, start to smile at each other and think of things they might do together.

On the stumps in front of his house, he placed animals:


As children walked past with their parents, they would stop to do things.  Pile the animals on top of each other.  Organize tableaux in which different animals were leaders or followers.  Group the animals into new configurations.  The baby frog rides the mommy frog…


Months after Joe’s departure, the animals continue to entrance children and their parents.  I saw them the other day and they’re either all still there, or their may be new additions.  And a mystery.  I don’t even remember seeing a hippotomus, but apparently there was one, and now….

JoesAnimalFarmShe is gone!

Imagine the fun of someone making this careful, beautiful poster, adding to the accruing stories on the stump, even though Joe and moved back to the U.S.

What have you done that was inexpensive and created gatherings of like-minded people who began to be friends?

P.S. see update from Rebecca at bottom of page

Thanks to Rebecca Pauls for the photos.

Thanks to Joe for permission to talk about his work.


Aaron, Liz Etmanski and Joe, after a great day with community representatives from all around the province, talking about what was making a difference where they lived.


You may have heard that Vancouver was recently hit by a big windstorm.  Luckily, Woody came by to check and make sure everyone was okay!


However, no sooner had things got tidied up than….  ka-boom!  a meteor landed!11949610_10156000419875383_1699844787_nRebecca will keep us posted on further updates!

Two PATH training options: Vancouver or Victoria! Hmmm….

August 31, 2015

Agencies in Victoria are hosting us to do PATH training September 16 – 18th.  Find out more here.  For the first time we are looking at how PATH can be used for supported employment.

Or, in Vancouver in November, come spend three days with people who speak “person-centered” 🙂


Upcoming Training Events with David Pitonyak

July 1, 2015

We are excited to once again be hosting David Pitonyak for a week in October!  PSNPitonyak copyDavid Pitonyak for Shared Living Folks: The Importance of Belonging

Monday, 26 October 2015 from 9:00 to 4:00

Being connected to the people we love is critical to our emotional and physical well-being.  Many people experiencing our services are sick from loneliness.  This workshop is about ideas for moving beyond interventions and coverage to a system that supports enduring, freely chosen relationships.
In our recent Home Share research we talked to lots of people who share their lives and value what they are doing, and wanted opportunities to learn together.  This workshop is a response that hopes to honor those requests.
Lunch is included.
For tickets, go here.
Beyond “Behaviors”: Supporting Competence, Confidence, and Well-Being
Difficult behaviors result from unmet needs. This workshop examines seven quality of life indicators that are often missing in the life of a person who experiences our services. Based on the idea from Jean Clarke that a person’s needs are best met by people whose needs are met, this day-long workshop examines strategies for supporting not only an individual who experiences disabilities but also the needs of his or her caregivers.
Objectives.  At the conclusion of the workshop, participants will have developed knowledge in the following areas:
  • Determining what people may be communicating through their difficult behaviors;
  • The role of physiological or psychiatric needs in the development of difficult behaviors
  • The importance of asking critical quality of life questions in building a support plan;
  • The critical importance of addressing caregiver needs in the development of a support plan;
  • Ways to support an individual in crisis.

For tickets, go here.

Training in MAPs, PATH and graphics – new events!

July 1, 2015
Cheryl's 2nd PATH, in 2014 (friend David Wetherow is on the laptop screen)

Cheryl’s 2nd PATH, in 2014 (friend David Wetherow is on the laptop screen)

November 18 – 20th, Vancouver.  MAPS and PATH as exemplary forms of person centred planning: co-facilitating for individuals, friends and family, teams and organizations

Aaron Johannes and Shelley Nessman with special guest David Wetherow

What is MAP or PATH planning?

“I know I speak for us both when I say that we LOVED the PATH and MAPS training. We were both buzzing about it on our way home . . . !  What valuable tools in person-centred planning. We learned a great deal from the knowledge in the room as well. . . .  I am so looking forward to using PATH with individuals. Thank you both so much for generously sharing your knowledge with us. We are very privileged to be working in the community inclusion field with both of you! :)”  PATH trainees

PATH is a process in which a facilitator and a graphic facilitator work with a focal person (or organization or team) and their supporters to create a vision of the best possible future, out of which comes a plan that is always “positive” and “possible,” understood by all and no longer mysterious or scary. By the end of the PATH event the focal person or group has communicated where they want to go, what and who they need to support their journey, and how this part of their lives will be part of a bigger future. Those who care about them often say they feel clear, inspired and hopeful afterwards, and are excited to take on action oriented roles. A PATH is a great tool to bring a network together and the “new” PATH processes focus on the development of support networks more than ever!

Shelley and Aaron, together and with other partners, have been doing PATHs for individuals, organizations and teams for more than 20 years and it is still a process that surprises and delights them as they watch individuals and teams who think they hate “planning” come to life and families get excited about the future.

“Oh it’s so gorgeous! What an amazing experience. I feel very privileged to have been part of it. Thank you everyone!”  Comment from a teaching staff after being part of her first PATH.  

For tickets to this event, click here.

If you would prefer to take this training in Victoria in September 16 – 18th, please contact Kristen or Catriona


November 28, Vancouver.  Expanding Graphics for Person Centred Planning and Thinking

Graphic Recording has become an important part of person centered planning, the central concept of individualizing supports for people with disabilities.  PATH and Maps, two of our favourite tools, are both graphic approaches to planning.  Often, as we learn these processes, we are focused on getting from one step to another and learning a bit about facilitation, a bit about graphics and a bit about what’s useful to a group of people who care about the person we’re planning with.
Afterwards, we often work with intensity, often alone at the wall, with little opportunity to reflect or grow our skills.
In this day long training we will learning how to:
– warm up and prepare for public drawing (eek!)
– thinking about scale, color and contrast
– creating an icon library that will allow you to speed up your responsive listening
– using pastels and other media like stamping
– incorporating stickers of various kinds to increase participation
– alternatives to include folks who are visually impaired
– identifying challenges participants are having and incorporating specific learning into the day’s curriculum
– an introduction to some Ipad drawing technology that you might find useful
Learning objectives: – become more confident public artists – learn new ways of being better recorders so that we can better pay attention to helping someone map out their dreams – learn about mediums that allow us to create more colorful, attractive, compelling plans – learning other ways of using graphics in our practices for understanding and communication
Prerequisites:– be familiar with the PATH process- have experienced drawing for PATHs- be committed to person centered thinking and planning This is a fast paced, interactive day which will build on the skills and questions participants bring to the group by using critique and discernment together.
Please consider joining us for an interactive, fun day limited to 25 people.

For tickets to this event, click here.

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