Vanguard Integration Facilitation

Class 2017-2018 (Currently in Session)

“NOW TAKING APPLICATIONS for 2018-2019 Class beginning Oct 2018”

Sponsored by:

 A training and development program for individuals and organizations supporting persons with developmental disabilities.
Directed by: Karlene F. Shea

Download: Vanguard Integration Facilition Training Application

 ”I wish I had taken this course years ago. The lessons taught are invaluable to our work and to our lives..” Laura Danserau MCS Class of 2012.    


             The Vanguard Integration Facilitation Training Program is a staff development program sponsored by the Central/West Region of the Department of Developmental Services.. It is also open to community organizations and families. The purpose of the program is to train individuals who will develop a deep understanding of both the importance and necessity of social integration for people with disabilities, and who will gain the skills necessary to become facilitators, who will then be able to assist people with disabilities become true members of their communities. In addition, each person accepted into the program will learn the approaches that make for successful integration. Those participants working in the field may choose to work on a practicum which identifies specific people who have the desire to become more involved in their communities. They will then help these individuals achieve this goal. Those participants not working in the field will learn the importance of welcoming people with disabilities into their communities and they will share this knowledge with other community members. Family members will learn ways of helping their relative become embedded in community and the many safeguards that this will provide.
             This is an intensive program, requiring a commitment to the philosophy of integration and the course, both on the part of the individual attending the training and their sponsor. This course provides theoretical principles and practical application.
 “I am so grateful that I got to participate in the Vanguard training. It teaches that each person is here on earth to live a full and complete life and we can help them to do this”. – Carolyn Caliri, Community Enterprises, Class of 2011
 “This course is a wonderful opportunity to explore the subject of community integration. Each session opens a window for discussion on how to create and sustain a more inclusive society”.- Jan Doody, Director, Community Resources for People with Autism, Class of 2010
 “This class should be taught to everyone, not just those working in this field”. – Pat McMahon, DDS, Class of 2012


             The course will be limited to fifteen participants from throughout the region. It will meet twice each month ( from Oct. to May), three hours per session. There will be a combination of teaching methods used designed to meet the needs of adult learners. Presentation, film and literature review, case study, journal writing, discussion and presentations from experts in the field will be among the methods utilized to teach this course.
“Thanks so much for allowing my students to share in your workshop. It was a great opportunity for them. It was one more way that I reaped the benefits of my training with you. The gift that keeps on giving!”   Carol Berry, Bay Path College, class ‘06

The Scope of the Program

  • To examine the issues of social integration.
  • To provide training and support to both agencies and individuals interested in people with disabilities and their involvement in their communities.
  • To provide community education and promote attitude change.
  • To train future ground breakers in the area of integration


  • Creating a new vision
  • Defining “true” social integration and defining basic principles of integration.
  • Why is integration so important for disabled individuals and their communities.
  • Real and imagined barriers to integration
  • Neighborhood, inclusion, concept of community
  • Gifts people with disabilities bring to the world
  • Sensitivity training about the diverse issues of culture, ethnicity, and disability
  • How to mold and affect the attitudes of others about the importance and validity
  • of integration
  • Masters Series featuring nationally and internationally acclaimed presenters, which have included Angela Amado, Darcy Elks, Bruce Uditski, John O’Brien and Judith McGill.
      Successful integration is the result of careful planning and execution. It often takes many attempts to achieve this goal. The Director will be available to meet on a regular basis with each participant and their program to develop in-depth strategies for meeting individual’s integration goals. In these sessions, we encourage wide participation from all interested parties involved with the organization or the individual.
 “The “how-to” guide to community integration. I got unlimited support , guidance throughout the course, networking and a wonderful mentor.” Jessica Henry Sullivan Associates class ‘99 
“When I began the training, I had no prior experience with community integration. I graduated with a refined understanding of the complex social and ethical issues that challenge inclusion efforts, as well as hope for a better future that is currently emerging from the vision and dedication of many courageous and forward thinking individuals.”  Matthew Andrews Best Buddies class of 2005
 “I feel compelled to do integration and teach others to do it because of what I have learned from this project.”   Amanda Gamache DMR class of 2004


The Program Director will review all applications. The program is interested in representation from throughout the region, as well as across various service types. Additionally, we are committed to diverse representation from a variety of communities. Foremost, will be both the agency and individual’s commitment to this work. We are looking for assurance from both the agency and staff participant that attendance at all training and time to work with identified people will be adhered to. Non-staff course participants will develop outcome goals based upon individual circumstance.


Applications for admission to the 2018/2019 program should be in by September 24th as the training will start on in October 2018 . Applicants will be interviewed by the director and notified regarding their acceptance.
 “What this course teaches is invaluable, not just for issues around people with disabilities but all issues related to the nation’s fraying social fabric. The lessons that I learned here guided me in the designs of my program with at risk teens.”   Mark Schoul, Institute for Community Building, class ’98.

Download: Vanguard Integration Facilition Training Application

 For course information please contact:
   Karlene F. Shea,   Program Director
260 Westfield Rd.
Holyoke, MA  01040
 Tel. 413-534-3299 Ext. 111