When Damian Rosenberg sends out an email with ***“Weird Little Advocacy Opportunity – Time Sensitive*** as the subject, of course, you are intrigued and you read it. After reading the email I quickly decided that I wanted to support this opportunity.
Little did I know it would change my life.
I was told that there was a young man that had been in an accident who now has a disability and uses a wheelchair. He worked very hard at Craig Hospital during his rehabilitation. When he was discharged from Craig, he did not have a home to go to and he found himself in a long-term nursing facility otherwise known as a nursing home. I think we can all see the injustice in a young man such as this, wanting independence, and instead in a facility that historically houses an older population.
He was invited to go to Washington DC to advocate for the Latonya Reeves Freedom Act (S.3417). If made into law, it will help people with disabilities have equal access to independent living no matter what state they live in.
I was very honored to be chosen as this amazing young man’s travel companion. During our travels he shared stories of what life is now like in his new living accommodations. I have three children that are all young adults and I could empathize with how they would be impacted if they were in this situation.
My middle daughter suffered a severe brain injury when she was a teenager and we quickly learned about the support needed for someone with a significant disability. I am so thankful for all those that have gone before us to give us so many of the supports needed to provide Home Based Community Services here in Colorado. Not every state has the same choices that Colorado offers. I feel it is my responsibility to do whatever I can to advocate for the rights of others as a small way of giving back.
I was such a small part of this whole initiative and I was thankful to meet some of the individuals from ADAPT and other organizations who make this their life’s work. I was in awe of the passion, drive, and the courage of these individuals that fight for these basic human rights for our friends, family, and neighbors. The days were long and tiring but these individuals demonstrated hard work and perseverance every day I was there.
I was so proud of this brave young man that I now consider a friend. It was awe-inspiring to see how the House Representative and their staffers went from trying to get us out of their offices as quickly as possible to leaning in and actively listening once my friend bravely shared his story. I can see he has a bright future ahead of him and I am committed to supporting him in his efforts to get out of his current living situation.
My experiences at PASCO, first as a family caregiver and now as an IDD resource coordinator gives me the ability to build strong relationships with the clients I serve. I feel lucky to work at a company that allows their employees these types of experiences to support advocacy and help make a difference.
It really brought the PASCO Promise to life for me.