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Good Things in Life podcast
41 minutes | Feb 17, 2022
Inclusiveology much needed in our schools
DJ Nicholson runs Inclusiveology - a 12 week program helping schools plan for inclusion. This week’s podcast episode we hear a little about what kind of planning is important to support the success of inclusion. And, we hear about how terribly far we are from inclusion in some areas. DJ works in Florida and I’m thanking my lucky stars I’m not parenting my son in that school system! Let me know what it is like in your school system and what questions you think parents can ask that will help improve inclusion in our schools.
59 minutes | Dec 13, 2021
Asset-Based Community Development - building solid communities from the strengths within - Darryl Answer, Stephanie Answer, and April Doner
“People coming together to celebrate what they have and what they can do - together.” ~Darryl Answer on what is asset based community development. So often when we have a need, a service or institution is available with a “fix-it solution.” The solution is determined by the service and we can fit in - or not. Take it or leave it. Asset-based Community Development (ABCD) is different. ABCD starts with the strengths and contributions of community members. This week on the podcast Darryl Answer, Stephanie Answer, and April Doner talk about ABCD in their lives and the lives of people with disabilities. “There is nobody that we don’t need. The greatest need is to be needed.” This episode includes vulnerability, strength, power and promise. You don’t want to miss it.
37 minutes | Dec 7, 2021
Even Warrior Angels get tired with Susan Dunnigan
Susan Dunnigan is back on the podcast to talk about her book Warrior Angel - the story of her family’s journey with her son Matt. The first time we chatted we talked about Matt’s educational experiences. This time we talk about the trials and tribulations of adulthood. Susan describes the energy required by advocacy as waves. Sometimes you are carried forward and sometimes you are left with nothing. Yet, the need to advocate doesn’t ebb and flow like a wave. Or at least, one’s energy levels don’t necessarily match the need. In this episode, Susan talks about taking risks and not over protecting her son - even if it means he is at risk of run-ins with the police and being taken advantage of by criminals. Join us for the reflections and the important reckoning we all need to do when it comes to the dignity of risk.
56 minutes | Dec 1, 2021
Be brave, find your people, create new spaces with Beth Mount, Hanns Meissner and Pamela Mansell
Cussing alert in this episode. Nobody lasts long in this world of supporting people with disabilities without finding themselves in a WTF? situation. There are few or no options. The only existing options are segregated. The expectations are abysmally low. Even good people are unsure how to move forward. If I’m wrong, and you’ve never been frustrated with a reality like this then reply to this email and tell me. But I’m guessing that you can relate in some capacity. Because this is such a common reality, people like the guests on today’s podcast have developed learning institutes, learning journeys, and person centred planning approaches to explore blue space - new space where creative possibilities can be created. This week on the podcast, Beth Mount, Hanns Meisner and Pamela Mansell discuss what it takes to create new spaces when what exists just won’t do. It takes bravery, finding your people and being willing to journey together.
43 minutes | Nov 30, 2021
David Sharif on achieving your dreams
David Sharif is a young man in his twenties who has autism and a long list of enviable accomplishments. I am particularly envious of his extensive travel. David’s journey has not always been easy but he has strong sports hero mentors and a clear vision of the good things in life plus friends and family who are there to support him. This week on the podcast, David and I discuss his life experiences, aspirations and achievements. One of David’s goals is to reach a large audience with his story. Check out the podcast so you can be part of his success story.
69 minutes | Nov 15, 2021
Our Life, Our Way with Christine Robinson
Christine Robinson joins me on today's podcast to talk about the remarkable journey that she made with her late husband William Rush. William was a journalist, writer and disability rights advocate. Christine is a therapist. In this podcast, Christine shares her thoughts about life with Bill including what it is like to be a witness to disability rights advocacy. She also speaks of the importance of their communities of support, giving them hope and encouragement as Bill did the hard work of making societal change. Check out this week’s podcast here.
58 minutes | Nov 13, 2021
The Big Plan with Steve Coulson
This week on the podcast we hear from Steve Coulson from the Thistle Foundation in Scotland. For many years, Steve has been facilitating the Big Plan - a group person-centred planning process. To be honest, I told Steve that “group” and “person centred planning” sounded like an oxymoron. Yet, after speaking with Steve, I can see that it can be helpful to have the voices of others to inspire our own vision and hope. Check out this week’s podcast here.
60 minutes | Nov 1, 2021
Being an Effective Advocate, with Dave Deuel
Despite decades of progress, three key myths seem to persist that keep many people from getting involved in disability advocacy at the policy level. But Dave Deuel knows that just about anyone can be an advocate—he’s the parent of an adult with a disability and has a lifetime of successful political advocacy behind him. He joins Genia for this episode to break down these myths and discuss advocacy techniques like storytelling and teamwork, and offers advice on getting past those hard moments when advocating feels like it’s sucking more energy from you than you can take. Advocacy is a lifelong process and it may seem at times like we still have so far to go, but listen now to remind yourself just how far it is we’ve already come—and how much possibility there is for a brighter, more inclusive future.
74 minutes | Oct 25, 2021
The Power of Parental Advocacy with Alpacino Beauchamp
The education system’s sole purpose is to help students reach their maximum potential and strive to give them the knowledge they need to succeed. Although, they don’t always have the resources on hand needed to help with each student’s individual needs. In this situation, it can feel difficult for parents to speak up on behalf of their children. After all, not all parents are experts on education, and speaking up can feel like they’re being burdensome. However, it can’t be stressed enough that when faced with this, parents should do the exact opposite. It’s important that parents voice their concerns and ask that other alternatives be presented to help their children. Alpacino Beauchamp joins Genia Stephen to discuss the power of parental advocacy in the educational system.
35 minutes | Oct 18, 2021
The Importance of Inclusivity with Wendy and Carrie
For students, the best part about going to school is feeling like a “part of the group”. Feeling like their thoughts, opinions, and contributions matter. Feeling like they matter. Inclusion is crucial in the classroom. There’s no denying the importance that it holds, and it’s equally important that students with disabilities don’t miss out on the incredible opportunities that it offers. Join Genia, Wendy, and Carrie as they discuss the benefits of inclusion, and how parents and educators can help promote inclusivity in the classroom!
73 minutes | Oct 11, 2021
Turning the Beam of Inquiry Inward with Chris Liuzzo
It’s easy for families and service system workers to adopt an “us vs. them” mentality when trying to work alongside each other, or to blame others when things go wrong. However, it takes more effort to look within to find the answers and be willing to make changes. “Turning the beam of inquiry inward” means asking yourselves as parents or service workers if there is anything that you can change about your behaviour to help find solutions. It means swallowing your pride, putting your differences aside, and opening your minds to focus on what really matters: helping the child. This week, New York State’s Systems Advocacy Award winner Chris Liuzzo joins Genia to discuss how turning the beam of inquiry inward can lead to a better working relationship between families and the service system.
49 minutes | Oct 4, 2021
The Transition from Exclusion to Inclusion with Kim Southern-Paulsen
The importance of inclusion is a subject that was discussed on this podcast in the pas, as it offers so much to individuals with disabilities. Although making that transition from exclusion to inclusion in the community can be difficult. It can also be hard to find that courage to keep pushing, but it’s important to keep on trying. Keep moving forward and pushing back; when there’s apparently no room for inclusion, then try and make room. It can be hard to persist, and consistently push for that change, but once it happens it’s incredibly rewarding. Join Kim Southern-Paulsen and guest interviewer Katie Bachmeyer as they discuss how to help make the transition from exclusion to inclusion a reality.
40 minutes | Sep 27, 2021
How to Build Friendships that Last with Barbara Beaulieu
Friendships are one of the best things that life has to offer. Having people in your corner that will back you up when seeking out support, comfort you when there’s a no, and celebrate with you when there’s a yes can make life’s challenges easier to manage and overall make life better. Although it can be daunting to take that first step when forming friendships, it’s important to not fall into the trap of waiting for others to act. CEO of KFI Barbara Beaulieu joins Genia to discuss the importance of building friendships that last, and how to gather the courage to make that first connection.
39 minutes | Sep 20, 2021
Stopping the Resistance Against Inclusion With Lynn Dew
Our journey has twists and turns. It isn’t a straight line. Especially when our kids are young and newly identified, we are open to the advice of those we look to for guidance. This is true whether the advice is good or bad. This week on the podcast, guest host Katie Bachmeyer interviews Lynn Dew, who shares her personal journey from segregation to inclusion as a mindset and as a destination.
90 minutes | Sep 6, 2021
Creating new paths with Fionn and Jonathan Angus
Goals. Dreams. Aspirations. Everyone has them; it’s what makes us human. The system places an expectation on students to strive towards their goals, handing them the tools and support they need to work towards them. There is a wide selection of programs and resources in place to help young people achieve their aspirations, because it’s only natural that they should. However, students with disabilities are not given these same opportunities to shape their own futures, which is why it’s important when there are no suitable options to choose from for families to make their own. Fionn and Jonathan Angus from Fionnathan Productions join Genia this week to discuss how families can help their loved ones pave the way towards their aspirations by creating new paths for them to follow.
61 minutes | Aug 30, 2021
Co-Teaching Philosophy, with Beth Lakretz
As a concept, co-teaching is sometimes difficult to explain, partly because it’s so unstandardized—the way one school district applies co-teaching might be really different from the way another district goes about it. Beth Lakretz is a special education consultant who’s trying to demystify co-teaching and other key principles of inclusive education. She joined Genia for this episode to talk about her take on co-teaching and how she helps parents and educators collaborate effectively according to their unique roles, expertise, and overall belief systems. They also discussed education policy, which is one of the biggest barriers to true inclusion today. Listen now for Beth’s insights on co-teaching, policy, collaboration, and more!
57 minutes | Aug 23, 2021
Let’s Talk Privilege, with Alison Gomez and Nikki Haffner
What does “privilege” really mean? Privilege isn’t just a thing some people have and others don’t—like so much else, it comes with layers of complexity. As founders and owners of Rebel Revolution, Alison Gomez and Nikki Haffner consult with individuals and offer training to help people in positions of power learn to combat systems of oppression that privilege the white, male, heterosexist, Christian, able-bodied perspective. Genia welcomed them to the podcast for this episode to talk about how to identify and de-weaponize privilege, and how to pave the way for greater equity in future generations. They also discussed intersectionality and the ways to uplift different social movements without co-opting the voices of marginalized peoples. If you’ve ever been overwhelmed by conversations about privilege or been unsure about how to join them, this podcast is a great place to start!
57 minutes | Aug 16, 2021
Mutually Nourishing Support Teams, with Faith Clarke
Organizational Health and Inclusion Specialist Faith Clarke knows all about how to put together a strong team. Faith looks for a collection of personality traits in her teams: archetypes that embody the characteristics of what she’s looking for. Supporting people today has more to do with fostering independence than it does with caregiving, and Faith calls this a “liberation movement role.” This was Faith’s second time on the podcast and Genia was happy to have her back to talk about all the above and more, including how she prepares job ads to attract the right sort of candidates; how to integrate home support workers into the private spaces of family life; and how to help teams pivot in the direction they want to go if their staff members are lacking some important skills.
48 minutes | Aug 9, 2021
Intentional Teaming, with Beth Gallagher
Beth Gallagher’s supported living service agency Life Works is built on authentic person-centred planning and she knows how to help other agencies incorporate the principle into their own organizational structure. With her principle of “intentional teaming,” teams are built around the person they’re supporting with every team member’s strengths in mind, rather than a top-down barking order that’s built around the manager. By thinking of each team as its own autonomous micro-enterprise, service agencies can help reinforce positive relationships among all stakeholders: clients, their families, friends, and advocates, the rest of the agency staff, and the community at large. And team members are hired by looking more closely at individual characteristics like personality and kind-heartedness than by assessing qualifications like experience or CPR skills, which are more easily trainable. In this week’s podcast, Genia chatted with Beth about her principle of intentional teaming and how to build an organizational culture that prioritizes true person-centred planning. Listen now!
65 minutes | Aug 2, 2021
Right Relationships, with Michael Kendrick
Buddhism teaches the principle of “right relationships”: the moral obligation to be in “correct” relationships with fellow humans. When working with staff or volunteers from disability service organizations, families form relationships, and forming right relationships—based on mutual respect, forgiveness, compassion, and understanding—can be an important component of building trust and ethical partnership with the organization as a whole. With time and baby steps, more and more relationships can become “right,” and eventually even lead to systemic change from the bottom up. This week, international community service consultant Dr. Michael Kendrick returns to the podcast to talk about how the concept of right relationships is at the heart of all successful, effective service organizations.
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