Vickie Cammack and Al Etmanski, are based in Vancouver, Canada. Upon the birth of their daughter, who had Down’s syndrome, the already socially engaged couple came face to face with the worry that all parents of children with disabilities face – how will my child survive in this world when I am gone? This thought crystallised into PLAN (Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network) which was established in 1989. The aim of PLAN is to prepare and support people with disabilities in later life. However as the organisation grew the message of PLAN changed to ‘what does a good life look like for our relatives with disabilities?’ PLAN’s vision is simple; they want everyone to have access to a good life. The creation of the Personal Networks programme was tantamount in the delivery of their vision; this saw people, including family, commit to be a part of disabled person’s community for a life time.
This highly successful initiative lead to the online support system of Tyze, where private and secure networks were created for the carers of those looking after elderly relatives, those who are chronically ill, etc. The issues that PLAN and Tyze address are concurrent with what is happening in Europe –an increasingly aging population that requires constructive economic responses to the growing costs of health and social care.
Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network (PLAN) is a family-led organization founded to secure the future for people with disabilities.A worry that all parents with disabled children face is the concern if their children outlive them. The stress and concern of how and who will support their offspring is very real and terrifying anxiety. Worries concerning isolation are tantamount with the parents and individuals PLAN works with. By 2030 there will be more than 12 million people over the age of 60, in North America and Canada who have disabilities. Such stark figures lead Vickie to establish Personal Networks programme. This initiative is centred around people, including family, who commit to be a part of disabled person’s community for a life time.
Through PLAN and their other organisation, Caring Citizenship, the dissemination of the Tyze model has been manifested with the “Disability Fellows Network” within the Ashoka Organisation. The issues that PLAN and Tyze address are concurrent with what is happening in Europe –an increasingly aging population that requires constructive economic responses to the growing costs of health and social care.
This initiative is centred around people, including family, who commit to be a part of disabled person’s community for a life time. This foresight has fostered conversations for the PLAN approach to be adopted by other countries such as the U.S., U.K. and Australia. Replicas must contain the core commitments to relationship, citizenship, self sufficiency and family direction. To date the Personal Network Programme has been disseminated to over 40 different locations globally.
From PLAN the Tyze Network was created in 2008. The Tyze Network provides personal, private and secure online networks that help people connect and communicate with each other. The difference with this online conversation is that the users are those in a caring role within families and communities. From adult children caring for their aging parent, families who care for a personal with a disability, those experiencing acute or chronic illness, etc. in 2010 the Belonging Fund was launched, an initiative that Canadian charitable organisations can use to connect to those experiencing isolation.
Vickie and Al are looking to expand Tyze both geographically and in its scope to reach other isolated sectors of society, such as new immigrants, those being treated for critical illness, new parents, at-risk youth, etc. This expansion will first be focused on English speaking countries.