The In Sync!™ Support Group Leader Program has a special place in the heart of PMD Alliance. As the newly appointed Manager, In Sync!™ Network, I recently had the opportunity to sit down with founding team member, Judy Talley, to discuss the history of In Sync!™ and the reasons it has remained one of the organization’s seminal programs.  In Sync!™ is PMD Alliance’s Support Group Leader program, designed to provide training and support to leaders of movement disorder support groups from across the country.

History of the In Sync!™ Support Group Leader Program

When PMD Alliance founders Sarah Jones and Judy Talley had their first brainstorming sessions in 2015, they each recognized the importance of providing education and support for the people who care for those living with movement disorders.  The following year, PMD Alliance published the Movement Disorder Care & Support Ecosystem© diagram which outlined the various kinds of people who exist within the movement disorder community, including care partners, adult children, support group leaders, and others within the family, companion, and healthcare networks.  PMD Alliance as an organization turned its focus and programming toward those who surround the people living with a movement disorder, knowing that when those community members are cared for and supported, then everyone benefits.

Judy and Sarah realized that there were no programs currently in existence that specialized in training and supporting leaders of movement disorder support groups, so they aimed to fill the gap.  Soon after, they began offering workshops for such leaders in a few cities in the Southwest and quickly observed the need for a practical, take-home kit that could assist support group leaders in running their groups more effectively and with confidence.  The Support Group in a Box™ kit was then created and disseminated at all workshops.  The In Sync!™ Support Group Program has since grown to be nationwide, with 10 workshops offered in 2019, the last two of which will be taking place in the California cities of San Diego on November 1st and Santa Cruz on November 7-8th.

Future of the In Sync!™ Support Group Leader Program

I greatly look forward to the opportunity to take this program to the next level in 2020.  Having worked closely with my fellow team members, we have honed in on the curriculum that will be offered at our workshops this coming year. We understand that the program must cater to the needs of first year participants as well as those who will be attending an In Sync!™ Support Group Program for a 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th time! Workshops will feature specialized modules that address important topics such as Shared Leadership, Integrating Movement into Groups, Succession Planning, Tips on Creating an Engaging Yearly Agenda, Incorporating Evaluation Techniques into Meeting Planning, and Community Building.

My goal is to offer three additional online training and networking events for all of our community support group leaders in 2020.  These online sessions will feature both professional speakers on topics related to group management, as well as guest support group leaders who have something special to share through their personal experience.  There will also be a social and networking component through which participants may learn about each other and deepen connections.  Another way in which our support group leaders may stay connected and informed is through a biannual newsletter designed just for them.  I also plan to initiate a social media group where leaders can stay in touch with each other throughout the year, in between our live and online events.

I feel privileged to have been passed the torch to carry forward this special and important program into the next decade.  Through a strong community, may we become stronger and healthier as individuals!

If you have any questions about our In Sync! program, feel free to contact me at shannon@pmdalliance.org.

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