Welcome to Empowered Connections.
Recently, Valued Lives Foundation made the decision to separate capacity building service from its service provision interests by establishing the Empowered Connection brand.
At Empowered Connections, we are a dedicated capacity building organisation focused on strengthening the capabilities and voice of people with disabilities. Based in Western Australia, our initiatives focus on strengthening pathways to inclusion and enabling people with disabilities to live their best lives as valued citizens.
Guided by principles centred on social, economic and community inclusion, we enable individuals with disabilities to lead fulfilling lives and engage in their communities. We do so in collaboration with families and allies, ensuring that they have equal opportunities and access to the same pathways as other citizens.
We are an integral branch of Valued Lives Foundation, united in our vison, purpose, values and principles. At Empowered Connections, our goal is to create a community that wholeheartedly empowers people with disability and their supports.
What Do We Mean
Capacity-building is a process that happens over time.
In the realm of disability, capacity-building represents a significant shift, moving from a deficit-focused perspective to one grounded in strengths and partnerships. Today, individuals with disabilities, their families, friends and formal supporters collaborate harmoniously. This pivotal change empowers those whose capacity is undergoing development to assert control.
Capacity-building in the context of the NDIS focuses on the health, wellbeing and empowerment of people, in order to build a good life.
At Empowered Connections, we hold the belief that individuals with disabilities are frequently denied the same everyday opportunities that most Australians take for granted. We acknowledge that this disparity arises from the societal undervaluing of people with disabilities, as evidenced by historical practices such as institutional structures.
We believe that the more roles a person has and the more valued these roles are, the more likely a person with disability is to have the good things in life. Through the perspective of roles, we aid individuals with disabilities and their families in breaking free from entrenched institutionalised thinking. Our primary emphasis is on cultivating and reinforcing roles that are typical, aligned with the individual’s life stage, interests and hold significant social value.
Empowered Connections aims to build the capacity of people with disability and their families. We work with families because they are often well placed to support their family members to achieve the good things in life, which is often required over the lifetime of the person. Families may influence the early pathways of their loved one such as access to an inclusive education. Families often have the greatest interest, know the person best and are well positioned to push back against low expectations, limited opportunities and harmful practices. They are also likely to have the biggest influence over the person’s life course.
Model for Social Inclusion & Change
Empowered Connections is a part of the National Alliance of Capacity Building Organisations (NACBO). NACBO member organisations have united based on their common vision and principles, which revolve around ensuring that individuals with disabilities have access to the opportunities for a fulfilling life. These opportunities frequently hinge on genuine social inclusion. NACBO organisations operate both autonomously and collaboratively to implement the following capacity-building model:
Independent Disability Advisory Panel
Valued Lives Foundation (VLF) is an organisation guided and led by peers. When we embarked on creating the Empowered Connections brand, we recognised it as a chance to amplify the disability community’s influence in our efforts. This year, we are in the process of forming the inaugural Disability Advisory Panel. This independent panel will provide a voice to the VLF Board of Directors and serve as a guiding force in shaping the direction and priorities of Empowered Connections. We have begun the recruitment process for assembling the panel. We warmly invite you to view this short video to gain further insights.