LifeSPAN (Lifetime Secure Personal Assistance Network) is a family directed organization that exists to support families to develop safe and secure futures for their relatives with disabilities. LifeSPAN answers the question asked by those who have a son or daughter with a disability “What will happen after I am gone?” For the first time in history, people with disabilities are outliving their parents. LifeSPAN addresses this concern through establishment of personal networks designed to be in place for the lifetime of the individual with disabilities, and by helping parents develop financial and legal plans. We believe that safety and security and a good life are achieved through relationships, and work in the community to be sure that the contributions of all members are received and acknowledged. This means that besides our direct work with families, we also focus on creating healthy communities that will benefit everyone.
Our mission is a simple one: We want everyone to have a good life.
LifeSPAN is modeled after and affiliated with PLAN (Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network) of Vancouver, British Columbia which has been in existence for over 20 years. LifeSPAN is a tax exempt 501(c)(3) organization that has been in operation in Washington State for over 10 years.
n Assistance with developing a Personal Future Plan for the individual with a disability. Beginning with the question ‘What is a good life?’ we look at each element including friends and relationships, a welcoming home, financial security, having choices honored and making a contribution - and then we help families to create a plan to make these things happen. In our work we have learned that planning for the future creates peace of mind in the present.
n Ongoing facilitation of a circle of social support (Personal Network) in the life of the person with a disability to address isolation and create opportunities to connect into community. Personal networks are comprised of all kinds of people who are invited to participate through family ties, shared interests, church, school, work or neighborhood connections. LifeSPAN trains and provides facilitators to organize the networks and keep them engaged.
n Through peer mentorship we provide assistance in developing a will and estate plan, as well as locating information regarding special needs trusts, maintaining government benefits, home ownership and other housing choices, and legal guardianship options (in collaboration with professional service providers).
n Ongoing overview of the services received by the individual - particularly after their relatives are no longer able to meet this need.
Our Core Values:
Commitment to family leadership - We are structured to ensure that we will always be directed by and accountable to families. The majority of volunteer leaders of LifeSPAN are relatives of an individual with a disability.
Relationships are the key to a good life – Families know that the well being of their loved one is directly related to the number and quality of friends in his or her life. LifeSPAN believes that no disability precludes meaningful, reciprocal relationships.
Contribution equals citizenship - People with disabilities have important contributions to make to our communities. LifeSPAN works to challenge all of us to recognize the contributions of individuals with disabilities by inviting them to participate more fully in their communities.
Independence from government funding - Organizational self-sufficiency is necessary to monitor and advocate for people with disabilities when their parents or relatives are no longer able to provide support. Self-sufficiency requires that LifeSPAN rely on community partnerships and that LifeSPAN charge families a partial fee for services, thus making LifeSPAN accountable to the families served (while at the same time supporting individual efforts to maintain needed personal governmental support).