425 883 9867 info@lifespan-wa.org

Network Facilitator, Michelle Solomon

I grew up in Redmond and graduated from Western Washington University in the Therapeutic Recreation program in March of 2014 with a Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) minor. I have been credentialed as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) since May 2014. I currently work as a Recreation Therapist at Cascade Behavioral Hospital facilitating groups and activities for inpatient acute psych and chemical dependency patients during their short-term stay. Though my career path has led me to a brand new population in the mental health field, my passions and advocacy work will always be with individuals with developmental disabilities. I feel very fortunate to be a part of Dina’s network. Dina and her mother, Eleanor, are the most supportive and genuine individuals. They have made the transition so smooth, providing me great feedback, specific information or instructions for reaching out to network members, and being equal collaborators in all the network events. I feel so grateful to be matched with such a wonderful family and be a part of a wonderful network of support. I look forward to growing Dina’s network and helping her increase her independence. In my free time, I love Zumba, karaoke, hiking, cooking, playing tennis, kayaking, and...

Proclamation for the Dignity and Rights of All Human Beings

In his advocacy work, one of LifeSPAN’s focus people, Eric, helped draft the Proclamation for the Dignity and Rights of All Human Beings. Among the things that makes the proclamation special for Eric and others with disabilities is that it speaks to rights of all human beings (not just folks with disabilities) and allows him and others to choose their own support team and advocate for themselves! Read the proclamation: http://www.alliesinadvocacy.com/the-proclamation/ Watch this video: http://www.alliesinadvocacy.com/excerpts-from-the-proclamation/ Sign the proclamation:...

Network Facilitator, Veronica Anderson

I am newcomer to LifeSPAN. I have a passion to work with others in creating their vision of what they would like and expect in their life. I am currently completing my last year of graduate school in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. One of my focus areas in counseling has been working with individuals who have physical and intellectual disabilities. I worked with one young man who I helped in gaining social skills. My goal was to help him build his ability to verbalize his wants and needs, as well as to help him build his confidence to create connection with others. I was reminded that these skills and connections are basic needs that we all have. With LifeSPAN I have been given the pleasure to work with Andrea and her family. I am privileged to build a personal and meaningful relationship with her that is different from my therapeutic relationships. She has amazing spunk, motivation, and a huge personality. She’s inspiring. I am excited to see what is to come with my time working with Andrea and LifeSPAN. Outside of LifeSPAN and my studies I spend my time with my husband Michael and three stepchildren: Alexis, Michael Jr., and Ethan. We are new to the Seattle area. My husband and I recently purchased our first home together, so our weekends are spent remodeling our home. As a family we spend a lot of time together—playing family baseball at a local park, showing kids our favorite 80s and 90s movies, and discovering new towns to...

Network Facilitator, Joanna Lowell-Forker

I joined the LifeSPAN family in January of 2014. I have had the privilege of being a facilitator for Dan, Mickey, and Jerry. These individuals have brought so much love, laughter, and joy into my life and I have so enjoyed getting to know their networks —their family, friends, and the significant people in their lives. I think when Dan said that I was “hot” the first time we met, I was instantly in love, but in my time spent getting to know each of these fun, loving, and special individuals they each stole a piece of my heart. Their networks are very different and each has its own unique personality, but what they share is an uncommon care and concern for each other, commitment to supporting one another, and a love for fun and food! In these networks, we talk about what we need to have the good life, what challenges us, and what we need to reach our goals. In learning together, we have had our share of emotional moments but mostly true joy, in that we have each other! When I am not with Dan, Mickey, or Jerry, I am with my other heart throbs —my husband Tolli, son Tommy (19), daughter Izzy (16), and daughter Emma (9). Growing up as a Missionary kid, I got to travel the world, tend to lepers, give baths to children in an orphanage, even serve with Mother Teresa in a food line, and while I don’t well remember the four languages I used to speak or recall all the names of everyone who impacted my life along the way,...

Network Facilitator, Kelly Delaney

Kelly Delaney became Kari’s network facilitator over a year and a half ago. She and Kari are the same age and live in the same neighborhood. Her role as Kari’s network facilitator is “a personally enriching life experience for me and an evolving one on the whole,” she says. “More than any other effort I have experienced thus far in our society,” she adds, “LifeSPAN exemplifies the social model of disability. I am honored to participate in LifeSPAN’s vision, mission, values, and practice of what it means to have a good life.” She has two children—her younger one began at Western WA University this September, and her older one will finish up at NYU next May. She has been working as a community access instructor to seniors with intellectual disabilities for almost three years now, which is also meaningful and rewarding work for her. She has studied women’s studies, disability studies, and philosophy at the UW, and has spent much time committed to social justice activism....

Friendship – A Perspective From Network Members

Marji Mar and Nancy Martos are sisters. They have been friends with Sheri since they were very young children and have been on Sheri’s network since it was first formed. They recently hosted a network meeting for Sheri. It was a festive potluck brunch complete with Secret Santa gifts and a wonderfully generous group activity that had everyone making jars full of Cowboy cookie mix and decorating the jars – maybe to give to others. Everyone who attended got to leave with one. We asked the sisters what motivated them to organize the brunch. Marji: I was inspired to host a network meeting when I heard Michelle Luce speak at the LifeSPAN fundraiser at Salty’s in September. She explained how she isn’t involved in planning her son’s meetings, or attending them, and she seemed pleased by how things were going for him. After the luncheon I asked Mrs. Hirai what her goals were for Sheri’s network meetings and would it be OK if I planned one with Sheri. She was on board with the idea so this is how it started. My hope was to give Sheri’s parents a break in planning and hosting and give them the option to come if they would like to – or not!  Also, I was hoping that this would give Sheri the opportunity to be involved with organizing and planning the network meeting. I hoped it would make her feel empowered. When I called my sister Nancy to see if she was interested in helping, she was eager to host as well. I am happy with the way the event went from...