Imagine Better has become a New Zealand leader in helping families raise and realise their expectations for disabled relatives. Not only does it work directly with families, but it also upskills family support agencies and presses for system changes to enable a good life for disabled people.
The agency began family-oriented workshops when it became obvious that families were stranded between well-intentioned but very variable existing support services, and were very unclear about alternatives.
It has since developed a family leadership strategy that starts with its workshops but goes much further, helping with detailed thinking and planning to make a good life a reality.
"In all available statistics disabled people are amongst the poorest, least well educated, least employed and most dependent on state benefits and services," says Lorna Sullivan, Chief Executive of Imagine Better.
"Our approach is designed to directly challenge society's low expectations, provide families with a vision of what could be possible in the lives of sons and daughters, and the strategies and supports they will need to pursue it".
Here is part of a letter sent to JRMT, from a parent who attended one of Imagine Better's workshops:
"I cannot speak highly enough of the content, the presentation, the sensitivity and the challenges this weekend workshop provided. Your thinking as a parent is challenged, your thinking as a citizen of this nation is challenged, to do better, to imagine a life better for people with disabilities.
My wife and I have returned home from this weekend inspired to do better for our disabled daughter. We are seeking major changes in Jessica’s life that do not entirely evolve around government funding, but more of her valued role in her community, of her circles of support and how Marie and I might be able to ask for more support with confidence. All powerful and very importance matters for us and our family."