Personal Support Network Facilitation – Family Network Course

Personal Support Network Facilitation Online Course – Family Network (self-paced)


About the Course

Finding friendship and making personal connections in one’s community can present challenges for us all under the most robust of conditions; for those who are isolated due to disability, illness or old age, developing a personal support network can seem insurmountable.  At the heart of Plan Institute is the belief that in creating a caring community with the knowledgeable assistance of a Network Facilitator, a person in isolation can have an active social network playing an important role in bringing resilience, purpose and joy to an otherwise solitary life.

Building on over 25 years of experience in facilitating hundreds of personal support networks for people living in isolation, this online course uses PLAN’s proven approach to provide participants with the knowledge and skills necessary to become a Personal Support Network Facilitator. As a Network Facilitator, you will have the tools to re-chart a life of isolation towards a life at the centre of an active and caring personal support network.

This course consists of four easy to follow modules that are designed to be both practical and inspirational:
  • Understanding Personal Support Network facilitation
  • Exploration in developing a Personal Support Network
  • Formation and maintenance of a network
  • Addressing challenges and building confidence
The 25 – 30 hours of course instruction includes:
  • Comprehensive, accessible, self-paced, online training. This means that there are no set times in which you must log in to the course, but can complete it at your own pace, within the 6-week window.
  • Overview of the principles and theory of Personal Support Network facilitation
  • How to develop a network including the three development phases
  • How to maintain a network
  • Certificate of Completion for those who successfully complete the course requirements

Who should take this course

  • This course is designed primarily for individuals working with or living with people who are socially isolated including seniors, people with disabilities and/or chronic health challenges, and youth.
  • However, the course is open to anyone, including family members and caregivers who have a loved one with a disability.


Rebecca Pauls

Rebecca is the Executive Director of PLAN. She is an enthusiastic and creative facilitator with a broad range of experiences in community development and supporting people with disabilities. She has worked in various parts of Canada and internationally in places like Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and Guatemala. Rebecca is passionate about seeing the unique gifts that each of us have and is convinced that our communities will be stronger, safer and more vibrant when each of us is contributing and sharing our gifts. She has a deep appreciation for the roles that family and friends play in our lives and is committed to connecting people with other people and places around them.

Shelley Nessman 

Shelley’s passion is supporting people to discover, nurture and share their gifts, skills, and abilities. Her experience as a facilitator and planner has helped her to understand that when a person and their network combine their dreams with a plan for action – anything is possible!

Two significant experiences changed everything about the way Shelley views “the work”. First was an opportunity early in her career to be trained by Jack Pearpoint and Marsha Forrest as a PATH facilitator (followed by life-altering training from Dave and Fay Wetherow). Second has been the privilege of sharing her home with people who experience disability. Life sharing has been a deep personal learning experience that shows up in everything she does. In the past 3 years, Shelley created her own consulting business “In the Company of Others” and has been privileged to work in BC, Ontario, Australia and the US.

Designed by Vickie Cammack, Plan Institute and PLAN co-founder, and the Plan Institute team.


“As regards the course, I am delighted at the ethos and values articulated in the content.  I have always been a strong believer in ‘contribution’ indeed the responsibility of a person with a disability to make a contribution, however, I lacked the theory underpinning this belief and also struggled in the area of ‘capacity’ to make a contribution, this module gave me food for thought in relation to the contribution of simply ‘being’,”

“Thank you for your wonderful support and I learned SO SO much that I truly hope will help the people I provide supports for and empower them with rights to make their own life choices whenever can! And supporting them to live outside of the disability box if they so chose.”

“Thank you very much for all your help and support throughout the course! I really enjoyed the material and feel strongly that I will be more effective in my job for having learned it.” 

“Your supportive guidance and reflection have been so helpful and thought-provoking.  I am looking forward to trying to put what I have learned into practice, both in my work and in my life in general.   I would love to maintain this perspective, always striving to listen and view people as the sum of their gifts and talents.  I know some days that will feel easier than others!”