The Evolution of the Imagining Possibilities Leadership Team

Chritine
Building a team is a practice that holds importance in all communities and cultures. Whether you speak French, English, Swahili, or are “non-verbal,” this phenomenon of people coming together, sharing in a goal, and creating a team is possible. Although it may be achievable, it takes time and commitment from the participants. At Imagining Possibilities, we understand the importance of creating a process to help guide the evolution of our Leadership Teams in Hamilton and Toronto. Our Leadership Teams consist of a group of community members with cerebral palsy who have been trained in Clean Language to work together with adult or youth participants in a mentorship capacity. Through sharing their experiences, they are able to create a positive and educational environment where other AAC users can learn new ways to let their inner artist shine. To develop such a team, a strong bond between the Leadership Team members is integral. This bond can only be created with trust and hard work. This is why during our workshops, we do not refer to the activities as “playing” but as work. When the members of the Leadership Team show up, they know that it is time to get to work, and they are ready and eager to do so. The creation of a team starts with engagement. The new participants of the Imagining Possibilities workshops must be willing and ready to engage in the sessions. A large part of this step involves helping the participants feel comfortable, showing them they are in a safe, non-judgmental space. Once the participants are engaged in the workshops, the next step is to focus on building a relationship between participants and getting a commitment to return weekly. Once there is an established understanding that they will return each week, true progress in their training in Clean Language can occur. *(need to write a bit on what Clean Language is) With each passing week, it becomes clear in which Clean Language activities the individuals thrive. The next steps allow participants to choose their own roles in the team where they feel they can do best. Once established in these roles, they become leaders in this aspect of the team. Although they choose their roles as individuals, they only truly become official Imagining Possibilities Leaders as a team. Together they help each other in learning and improving their roles, and simultaneously creating bonds built on trust and friendship. This process of building a Leadership Team can be done with AAC users everywhere. Imagining Possibilities has already traveled from Toronto, where the original Leadership Team resides, to Belgium, and now to Hamilton where the creation of our emerging Hamilton Leadership Team takes place.  Our mission is to help in the creation of as many Leadership Teams as we can so people who are AAC users can learn Clean Language, mentor the young AAC users of the future, have fun, and get to work!

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