The Star Raft – Building Circles of Support, Connection and Commitment

The Star Raft is a pattern used by sailors to anchor in community and a working metaphor for creating and maintaining action-oriented personal support networks for people with disabilities, youth at risk, families caring for elders, injured workers, and others. It includes patterns for discovering and mobilizing a rich array of people, places and resources that appears when we ‘mine’ our own personal networks.

The Star Raft ‘follows the threads’ of individual interests, gifts and capacities in the direction of companionship, connection and contribution. It includes tools for keeping circles strong in turbulent times, maintaining safety, and expanding by lending experienced members to sponsor new circles.

The ultimate vision is that the pattern and the practice will become as visible, accessible and free as systems such as AA and La Leche League – free from competing for government or philanthropic funds, free from complex bureaucracies, and free from the game of ‘competitive misery’ in which we’re forced to define ourselves and those we love in catastrophic terms in order to get essential supports.

David Wetherow brings over 30 years of experience in disability services, person-centered planning and personal network development. He and his wife developed the first Microboards (there are now over 500 operating in BC), and has supported the development of Microboard Associations in Tennessee, Illinois and Wisconsin. He has authored training materials and software for the creation of personal support networks, and plans to spend the next 30 years giving it away.