Who we are
Personal Lifetime Advocacy Networks of Rhode Island (PLAN RI) is a non-profit organization of families who have relatives with disabilities. We are modeled after the PLAN organization that began in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1990 and won an international award for their social entrepreneurship. The overall purpose of PLAN RI is to answer the haunting question, “What will happen to my loved one with a disability when we are no longer able to provide him with a good life?”
Our core values help generate a good life
Family leadership: Families who have relatives with disabilities shape and direct the vision for their relatives. Families directly monitor the services provided by PLAN RI. As PLAN RI grows, family members will serve on committees and co-lead workshops developed by PLAN RI. Other families who have relatives with disabilities are the best custodians of our vision for the future of our loved ones with disabilities when their own families are no longer able to provide that support.
Security through relationships: Surrounding our relatives with disabilities with caring, committed friends and families is the foundation of a safe and secure future. Safety is directly related to the number and quality of relationships in one’s life. PLAN RI facilitates the development of relationships between individuals with a disability and the community. Relationships and the checks and balances that they provide offer peace of mind in uncertain times.
Self-sufficiency: The organization’s independence from government funding makes PLAN RI both effective and accountable. It allows PLAN RI to advocate on behalf of families with no fear of reprisal. It allows PLAN RI to speak with a strong and unified voice – the voice of the families. Self-sufficiency demands PLAN RI be directly accountable to the families it serves.
Contribution through citizenship: Citizenship means having both rights and responsibilities. While people with disabilities have been granted their rights, their gifts, capacities, and contributions have often been ignored or denigrated. As a consequence they are often not viewed as full citizens. PLAN RI recognizes that everyone can make a contribution, which our communities need. PLAN RI encourages the people it serves to reciprocate by serving the community.
What we do
PLAN RI carries out two major functions.
We assist families to develop a personal future plan for their relative. PLAN RI helps families follow a seven-step process to create a safe and secure future for their loved one. Each future plan is tailor made to include your wishes and dreams for the future and addresses any concerns you may have. Each future plan covers the following key areas:
- Will, estate and financial planning
- Long-term housing security
- Maintaining government benefits
- Personal relationships
- Making a contribution
- Alternatives to guardianship
- Monitoring quality of life
We establish and maintain a caring personal network in the life of the member with a disability. PLAN RI provides assistance in creating and expanding the network of friends and supporters to your loved one, contributing to their quality of life now and in the future when you are not there
Other ways we improve the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families are to: Offer families support in learning what they need to know about planning for the future of their relative with a disability, including safety, living arrangements, supported decision-making and whatever they might be afraid to ask
Provide information and referral on developing a will and estate plan, creating discretionary trusts and maintaining government benefits.
Address through the support network the quality of programs and services that the focus person receives, particularly after their relatives are no longer able to meet this need.
Advocate on behalf of people with disabilities with government and non-government agencies.
Engender community awareness of the contribution that can be made by individuals with disabilities
Our vision for the future
At PLAN RI we envision a future where individuals with disabilities
- Have financial security
- Live in a place of their own choice
- Are members of a caring and hospitable community
- Are supported by family and friends
- Have their wishes and choices respected
- Are protected from abuse and exploitation
- Are encouraged to make a contribution
- And where families have peace of mind about the future of their relatives with disabilities
- Creating social capital
- PLAN RI and other similar groups throughout North America have been described as a “social enterprise”, a new type of non-profit, deploying business skills in social settings to satisfy unmet needs, creating social capital instead of economic capital
Without detracting from government’s continuing responsibilities, we are developing lifelong security and well being for our relatives with disabilities. Participants in PLAN RI are investing in:
The capacity of families to solve their own problems
The expanded capability of individuals with disabilities to fully participate in society through contribution and self-determination, helping them be viewed as contributors, rather than objects of charity
The hospitality of neighbors in the community
The enlightened self-interest and social responsibility of the corporate and private sector
Love is not enough
So let’s get right down to it. In matters of future planning, love is not enough. Planning is an act of courage. Planning for the future when you have a son, daughter, brother, sister, or any relative with a disability means planning to let go. PLAN RI can provide a continuing good life when that happens.