The Minnesota Gathering for for Person-Centered Practices 2021

The Minnesota Gathering for for Person-Centered Practices 2021

Sponsored by the Institute on Community Integration at the University of Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Human Services, and The Learning Community


On behalf of the Gathering Committee, we wanted to welcome and thank you for bringing your knowledge and experiences to share with the community.  The last year as afforded us an opportunity to learn and explore our work in a manner that many of us though we would not be able to succeed.  The perseverance and resiliency you have displayed and your dedication to doing it all with a deep understanding of what is important to people is a beacon to others.  Well, done Minnesota.  In the words of Alvin whom I had the pleasure of coffee with for many mornings “Keep up the good.”

  • The Minnesota Gathering Committee 

Day 1 • October 27, 2021

Opening plenary session • 8:30–10:30 a.m.

8:30 -8:45 a.m.

Welcome and Logistics from your Program  Committee 

Claire Benway and Betsy Gadbois


A welcome from the Institute on Community Integration at the University of Minnesota

Amy Hewitt


Mindfulness Meditation Spiritual Stillness: We will start by talking about what it is like for our bodies to be under stress. We will discuss how to move our bodies into a more relaxed state by using on demand relaxation. Including techniques from qi gong and mindfulness practice. We will practice some guided sitting relaxation and breathing exercises.

Tanya Richmond

Session 1 • 10:45–11:45

Rights and Responsibilties — A Workbook to Start the Journey: Truly understanding and exercising your Rights and Responsibilities can prove to be challenging...and awesomely rewarding! Through side by side learning the journey is shared and new awareness occurs! The more people understand and exercise their rights the more confident and self directed they become. Self Advocates will be leaders in this session.

Betty Dewitt and Joan Decker

Success Stories — HCBS Provider Customized Support Project: HCBS Providers in MN have been receiving free consulting and training around community access and engagement; person-centered organizational change; person-centered service delivery; promoting competitive employment; transportation; as well as others topics to better support people in Minnesota. In this session we'll share some of the success stories of the past two years and the creative approaches providers have taken to make these changes.

Angie Hart

Supporting Families using Charting the LifeCourse: How Charting the LifeCourse can be used to support families and their children in thinking about and communicate short and long term goals in different settings including school, working with physicians and other providers.

Carrie Jakober and Jamie O'Conner

Learning Marketplace • 12:00–1:00 p.m.

Disability Hub MN My Vault: Take a tour of the Disability Hub MN Vault and the person centered activities to support people in living their best lives their way. Charting the LifeCourse tools are included in these activities

Marcy LaCroix, Heather Stillwell, and Lauren Gower

Life Sharing

Life sharing is a relationship-based living arrangement that carefully matches an adult age 18 or older who has a disability with an individual or family who will share their life and experiences and support the person using person-centered practices.  Come learn about the new resources and have a conversation with Scott and attendees. 

Mindfulness  - starts at 12:30 

Tanya Richmond

Open Marketplace - To publish a link for your own room please email your information to for it to be published here.  

Session 2 • 1:15–2:15

Using Safety Science and Person-Centered Principles to Support Staff while Learning and Improving After a Critical Incident: DHS will briefly share about their Culture of Safety project, give an overview of safety science principles, and have a conversation with participants about how to support and respond to staff when work doesn’t occur as expected.

Aric Gregg and Charles Young

Supported Decision Making—How to do it: This session will provide a brief review of supported decision making and it's relationship to guardianship; we will share tools and resources that professionals, families, and individuals can use to use supported decision making in their own situations; finally, we will discuss examples of how individuals and families have used supported decision making to enhance and preserve self-determination.

Anita Raymond

Under Pressure: The Requirements for informed decsion making and self-direction creates pressure for change.  It is helpful to think of pressure as having 2 components: positive pressure and compliance pressure.  Compliance pressure occurs when a change in practice is required and has a deadline for implementation. Positive pressure is present wehn there is agreement that the change in practice is desirable and those who are impacted endorse the change. When both are present, change is like to be successful and be completed by the deadline. In this session we look at how to balance these pressures. 

 Michael Smull and Natasha Merz

Session 3 • 2:30-3:30

PCP — One House United: No more we vs they when it comes to people supported and the staff that work with them! We will talk about how we can extend the planning process to create an inclusive, complete home that hears everyone's voice for a better relationship all around.

Team-Based Strategies for Becoming More Person-Centered: This presentation will describe strategies for improving our person-centered practices by being intentional about how we make changes in our support for everyone while empowering people with disabilities to thrive and flourish in the lives they choose. A free online resource created with sponsorship from the Minnesota Department of Human Services called the Home and Community-Based Services Modules on Person-Centered Organizations will be introduced. Examples from other Minnesota organizations will be shared with a focus on how this team-based approach can be a helpful way of making person-centered changes part of everyday life.

Rachel Freeman

Informed Decision Making: Person centered practices are foundational for self-directed lives with informed decision making.  It also requires a clear vision of what success will look like, including alignment of practices and structures with the vision; and a willingness to make the necessary chagnes. Success requires those that are making the effort keep in mind that organizational culuture is often the silent killer of change. 

Closing Session • 3:45–4:30

Turning Tragedy into Triumph—How a Shaken Baby Survivor Became a Smile Therapist  

Nancy and Nykkole Becker  

Day 2 • October 28, 2021

Learning Marketplace • 8:00–8:45 a.m.

The New Curriculum Questions and Answers: Come with your morning beverage and questions regarding the new curriculum. You will recieve this as a calender invitation from Claire and the Minnesota Mentors.

Minnesota Mentors 

Open Marketplace - To publish a link for your own room please email your information to for it to be published here. 

Plenary Session Day 2 • 9:00-12:15 p.m.

9:00 - Welcome back and logistics

Program Committee

9:15 - Welcome from the Minnesota Department of Human Services

9:30 - 10:30 Self-Advocate Speak Out: Come to this session to learn from self-advocates about what's going on in Minnesota self-advocacy. We will share our experiences with how classes, meeting, conferences and retreats have boosted our skills, knowledge and confidence to live the lives we want and deserve. We will have a conversation with you about the gap between the rights we have and the rights we know about and are supported to exercise. Come to learn from us. We have lots to say!

DJ Fischer, Brian Heuring, Amy Jo Piedade, and Mary Kay Kennedy

10:45 - 12:15 World Café: Hard Conversations

  • Create a welcoming space for all
  • Explore questions that matter
  • Encourage each person's contribution
  • Share ideas and connect diverse opinions
  • Listen for patterns, insights and deeper meaning
  • Share collective discoveries

Lets dig into the following questions: 

  • How do we have difficult conversations with others to move services and supports forward?
  •  What has been needed to receive that outcome?
  • If there was a time team member(s) were not able to have productive or hard conversations, How did you change or support the team to work respectfully together and move forward?

 Brittany and the Program Committee

Lunch Mini Marketplaces • 12:15–1:00 p.m. 

Marketplaces will begin directly after World Cafe enter as you are able during lunch

Person Centered Counceling  and Supporting your Employess with Online Training through DirectCoures - (TLCPCP connection)

Claire Benway and Nicole Duchelle

Building Self-Advocacy Skills — It Can be Done through a Waiver Service

Aric Gregg and Angie Hart

Open Marketplace - To publish a link for your own room please email your information to for it to be published here. 

Session 2 • 1:15–2:15 p.m.

Life Sharing part 2: Yesterday we reviewed the new guidance. Today we'll have some time to process, answer questions, and look for opportunities to partner and connect people who are interested in matching and finding long-term relationships. All are welcome!

Turning the Covid Corner: This session will explore the unique challenges that we have been through together, the trauma and impact of Covid on our day to day lives and the path forward to healing.

The Accessibility of the Remote Training: As the only Trainer with a physical disability, I will speak about my experience going through the certification process, the accommodations that I utilize, as well as how I have navigated delivering the training remotely.

Closing Plenary Session •  2:30–4:00

2:30 - 3:40 - Technology's Greatness and It's Barriers—TeleOutreach & TeleTraining: Children and adults with developmental disabilities and/or mental health needs often face barriers to accessing services and supports, particularly in Greater Minnesota and for people in culturally and linguistically diverse communities. TeleOutreach and TeleTraining to support the remote delivery of services are two ways to bridge these support gaps. Promising practices and challenges with the equitable use of the Institute on Community Integration's (University of Minnesota) TeleOutreach during the pandemic will be discussed, including the viewpoints of community stakeholders. Support agencies; Star Services, and Mains'l delivering PCT and PCP training discuss their practices and challenges in bringing the on-site curriculum to online audiences.

3:40 -4: 00 Closing Remarks and Evaluations 

Jessica Simacek, Adele Dimian, Betsy Gadbois, and Brittany Wood

Be a part of our Virtual Gallery Walk! This year add your virtual poster to the MN Gathering YouTube page . What is a Gallery Walk? A Gallery Walk is a visual representation you share at the Gathering of how you and/or your organization are putting your gifts, skills, interests, and dreams into action. Have fun recording with colleagues from your organization or individually at your home, walking us through what you have been doing during this time to put your dreams into action. Be creative and be inventive. Record on Zoom, your cell phone, or another device, upload to our YouTube page  or send to or Mark Olson at Google Drive accepted. An instructional video to help you get started is Gallery Walk Instructional Video on our YouTube Channel. For questions or help please email us at

Have something to submit to the Gallery Walk? send videos to Mark Olson at: 

Learning Marketplace Information

A Learning Marketplace is an opportunity for everyone to contribute and learn in short, smaller, more intimate sessions. You decide what it is that you would like to share or learn and post that in the marketplace. This year you will have an opportunity to post your topic of interest in the Virtual Venue. These opportunities for learning from each other are intended to be an opportunity to hear from those people in attendance. Supporting the community in the room to share and learn from each other.

Learning Marketplace Tutorial  - what to look for in the Virtual venue and how to submit.

Submit your Learning Marketplace Session by emailing and including; Topic, Short Description, Date/Time, Presenters name and your video conferencing (Zoom, Webex, Google Meet, etc) link. 

Appreciation & Gratitudes

AppreciationClick this link to post your Appriciations and Gratitudes

Feedback and Evaluation

Thank you for attending, please take a moment to provide some feedback about your expereience.  Click HERE to privde feedback electronically.