Build Community

Build Community is a collaborative family-driven model that includes the person with a disability and their family members as part of the solution process. The goal of this process is to create a safe, fulfilling and purposeful life for the individual with a disability, where they can be active members of their community and share their gifts with others.

When Jonathan first joined Build Community, he was already quite actively engaged in many programs and activities in the community. However, due to his limited communication and interests, he struggled to connect with others and the family did not have an established support network or plan in place for Jonathan’s future. Little did we know, as we began to reach out to Jonathan’s family, support workers, and others in his immediate and extended community, that Jonathan’s network would quickly form and grow to more than 10 people! We realized that by simply extending an invitation, many people in Jonathan’s life were eager to jump in and get involved in his support network and care. Now, after over three years in the program, the network continues to meet regularly and individual members have stepped in to support Jonathan and his family in various capacities such as providing respite care, participating in emergency planning, and facilitating vocational and life-skills activities to increase Jonathan’s independence at home and in the community.” 

Vision

To create a safe, fulfilling and purposeful live for the individual with a disability, where they can be active members of their community and share their gifts with others. 

Beliefs

We believe in a future where people with disabilities:

  • live life as valued members of our city.
  • build lives of meaning and joy.
  • have the safety and security of strong personal relationships.
  • are part of a caring and vibrant community that encourages them to contribute.
  • enjoy financial security.

Purpose

  • Provide personal future planning for families with a relative with a disability that is results-driven with accountability to the individual and families.
  • Provide assistance through a trained community facilitator in the creation of a personal support network aimed at ensuring a safe and secure future for the person with the disability.
  • Provide network opportunities for families to meet and connect with one another.
  • Provide, through the ABLE2 Grow Education Series, regular workshops for families and individuals. For example, on Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning, RDSP, etc. Note: those families registered in the Build Community program (formerly Lifetime Networks) prior to March 1, 2021 are provided with three free workshops per annum in this series.
  • Provide recreational activities for individuals and their families.

Workshops

Workshops on topics of interest are run throughout the year as part of the ABLE2 Grow Education Series. The workshops are developed with experts on planning for people with disabilities.

Families registered in the Build Community program (formerly Lifetime Networks) prior to March 1, 2021 have access to three workshops each year without further charge. To take advantage of this feature these families must connect with the Program Coordinator – lstevanovic@able2.org, to register their interest to attend a particular session.

Possible workshop topics include:

  • Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning
  • Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP)
  • Henson Trusts
  • Transition from High School

Publications

All families receive a copy of:

  • Safe and Secure – a guide to creating a good life for people with a disability

Social Activities

The generous support of The Fran Ages Recreational Fund allows families to host and organize events that are fun for all participants and may also be a networking opportunities for families to share concerns and successes with others. Administrative support is provided by ABLE2 to the families who take on the leadership planning role for an event.

CONTACT INFORMATION

For more information please contact
info@able2.org

613-761-9522 ext. 223

Frequently Asked Questions

How Does It Work?

Build Community is a collaborative family-driven model that includes the person with a disability and their family members as part of the solution process. The goal of this process is to create a safe, fulfilling and purposeful life for the individual with a disability, where they can be active members of their community and share their gifts with others.

Build Community provides:

  • a results-driven process with accountability to individuals and families.
  • assistance through a trained community facilitator in the creation of a network, or circle of support, for the person with a disability.
  • networking opportunities for families to meet and connect with one another.
  • regular workshops offered through our ABLE2 Grow Education Series, for families and individuals.*
  • recreational activities for individuals and their families.

*Families who were part of Lifetime Networks prior to March 1, 2021 are provided with three free workshops per annum. Connect with the Program Manager: khowson@able2.org to set this up.

Is It Right For You?

Build Community helps families plan for the future of their child or relative with a disability and build a network of support that will support the person with the disability to live a rich, full life both now and in the future.

If you are a person with a disability, a family member caring for one, a caregiver, a social worker, or other professional (financial planner, insurance broker or lawyer), then Build Community should be part of your overall support plan.

Build Community provides this service through a caring and professional community facilitator who is in regular contact with the individual and manages their support network as it grows and evolves.

For parents, it provides regular information sessions, workshops and opportunities to network with other families.

How Long Has Build Community Been Around?

Build Community (formerly known as Lifetime Networks) was started in Ottawa in 1999 by a group of concerned parents. The organization merged with ABLE2 (formerly Citizen Advocacy Ottawa) in 2010. The program was relaunched as ABLE2 Build Community on March 1, 2021.

What Is Plan?

PLAN (Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network in Vancouver) is a membership-based organization, established by and for families committed to ensuring the safety, security and well-being of their relatives with disabilities.

WHAT’S THE CONNECTION BETWEEN BUILD COMMUNITY AND ABLE2?

Build Community is an affiliate of Planned Lifetime Advocacy Networks (PLAN) and is one of many affiliates throughout North America. ABLE2 and Build Community are all about building relationships and supporting people with disabilities to live lives of meaning and joy. Social inclusion and full community participation are at the core of everything we do at ABLE2 and Build Community.

WON’T THE GOVERNMENT LOOK AFTER MY SON/DAUGHTER?

Families can absolutely rely on the government to provide food and shelter, programming and practical support. But life is about more than where you live and being kept busy. Life is about making choices, being in meaningful relationships, feeling supported in decision making and transition, being with people who genuinely care and are not paid to be with you. Paid care providers come and go and turnover is high – friendships can last a lifetime.  We work to provide a good life now and in the future.

WHO ARE YOUR COMMUNITY FACILITATORS?

Build Community recruits community facilitators who have a genuine interest in building relationships, a demonstrated connectedness to their own community, experience with people with disabilities, strong facilitation skills and an open mindedness. Community facilitators are supported around facilitation, network building and creative approaches to building relationships. The facilitator team meets regularly with the Program Manager to share ideas, experiences and network building strategies.

ARE THE COMMUNITY FACILITATORS TRAINED?

Yes, community facilitators receive basic core training to do their work and ongoing training and development.

DO I GET TO CHOOSE MY COMMUNITY FACILITATOR?

Yes. Individuals and families are encouraged to choose their own community facilitator and the Program Manager can make suggestions about which community facilitator might be a good fit, based on where they live, their goals, interests and personal fit.

DO I GET TO CHOOSE THE MEMBERS OF MY SON/DAUGHTER’S LIFETIME NETWORK?

Yes. Individuals and families work closely with the community facilitator and identify people they would like to be invited into the network and potential relationships to explore. Individuals may have their own ideas of who they would like in their network and the community facilitator balances that with the family’s goal for certain types of support people. The goal is for a network to be made up of people who genuinely care about the individual and their family and who will have the ability to support the individual to live a life of meaning and joy.

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE FOR MY SON/DAUGHTER TO GET A LIFETIME NETWORK?

The length of time it takes to build a network is different for everyone. Some people join Build Community already having strong relationships and looking to formalize a network, some come with many community connections ready to be explored and some come to Build Community with little connection to their community and may even be new to the city. Building strong relationships which are sustainable and supportive is not a quick process, although we have also learned that people are often very receptive to being invited to support someone as part of a larger network or circle.

WHY DO FAMILIES PAY TO HAVE A PERSONAL SUPPORT NETWORK BUILT?

Build Community receives no government funding and relies on membership fees and fundraising efforts to remain independent and sustainable over the long-term.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

The costs include:

  • A one-time fee for hiring and training a community facilitator for the family (can be claimed under Passport funding with the receipt provided)
  • A monthly fee that includes hourly rates for a facilitator for three to six hours per month based on the level of service, administrative costs and ongoing facilitator training.

CAN I USE MY PASSPORT FUNDING TO CREATE A PERSONAL SUPPORT NETWORK?

Yes, up to $2,500 per year.

CAN I GET HELP TOWARDS THE COSTS OF THIS PROGRAM?

No, Build Community receives no funding so subsidies are not available.

HOW IS BUILD COMMUNITY DIFFERENT FROM OTHER PROGRAMS?

Build Community is different than many other programs supporting people with disabilities because it is a family-driven collaborative process.  You decide when and where to meet with the community facilitator, who to invite in the network, how to bring people together and what your goals are as a family. Build Community is about building relationships which are long-term and supportive, rather than counting hours of support or finding organized activities to keep an individual occupied. Build Community is a concept that can be moulded to match each individual and family, rather than a structured program with strict parameters.

I ALREADY HAVE A PERSON-DIRECTED PLAN DO I NEED A PERSONAL SUPPORT NETWORK TOO?

A network can help you implement your plan.

HOW CAN YOU BE SURE THAT BUILD COMMUNITY WILL BE AROUND IN THE FUTURE?

Build Community in Ottawa is modelled after the award-winning PLAN program in British Columbia that has served over 5,000 families for more than 20 years. Twenty five percent of the individuals they support no longer have a parent still living. PLAN’s experience proves that the model works and is sustainable. ABLE2 has worked with community facilitators and families to build successful networks that will continue to support individuals with a disability throughout their lives.

As a PLAN affiliate we have access to their resources and benefit from their advice and experience.

IS THIS PROGRAM ONLY FOR ADULTS?

No. It is never too soon to start planning for a good life for your loved one. Our members have children of all ages and abilities.

DO OTHER ORGANIZATIONS SET UP PERSONAL SUPPORT NETWORKS?

Yes. There are other PLAN affiliates across the country. There are also programs that use the support network model but are not affiliated to PLAN.

CAN I BE INVOLVED WITHOUT BUILDING A PERSONAL SUPPORT NETWORK?

No, all members of Build Community are involved in a personal support network.

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