Virtually all of the more than 200 Facilitators SDMNY has trained to date are volunteers. Some are students in University-connected and professional programs, like the MSW and BSW programs at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, the Occupational Therapy Associate program at La Guardia Community College, and the Graduate School of Education at Hunter College, some of whom may also receive academic credit. Some are advocates for the rights of persons with developmental disabilities. Others work for provider agencies or are Self-Direction brokers, while still others are retired professionals or even parents of Decision-Makers who have found the process so valuable for their own adult children that they want to make it available to others.
All Facilitators attend two full days of training by SDMNY staff and are given a comprehensive, 110-page Facilitator’s Manual, as well as extensive materials developed by SDMNY for use in the three phases of facilitation. They participate in monthly Community of Practice calls where ideas and best practices are exchanged, and new tools are presented. Every Facilitator has a Mentor, with whom they check in after each facilitation meeting and with whom they can problem solve if challenges arise.
Mentors are experienced Facilitators who have demonstrated their commitment to SDM and their ability to successfully work with Decision-Makers and their Supporters. They monitor and guide the work of the Facilitators assigned to them, participate in scheduled meetings with their Site Coordinator, and, more infrequently, in conference calls with Mentors from all five SDMNY sites.
To ensure the consistency and quality of SDMNY facilitation, Facilitators and Mentors are required to enter notes on all of their meetings on the SDMNY intranet, which is available to and regularly reviewed by the Site Coordinators. Those notes are also reviewed when an SDMA is submitted for approval by the SDMNY legal team to verify the Decision-Maker’s and Supporters’ actual completion of the SDMNY facilitation process.