Meet Kate. First and foremost, Kate describes herself as a woman, a mother to her companion dog, Candy, and partner to her best friend, Todd. Kate is an advocate, volunteer, and an active member of Disability Network’s Advocacy Council (DNAC) and the RICC.
Kate struggles daily with depression, anxiety, and fibromyalgia. Having a disability can be tough…especially for those struggling with invisible disabilities. “Sometimes I get bored,” says Kate, “Often, I get upset because I can’t do as much as I used to be able to.”
According to the National Organization on Disability, 35% of Americans with disabilities say they are completely uninvolved in their communities. Far too many people with disabilities feel isolated. “Before I got connected with Disability Network, I was bored and felt down. I had a lot less help than I do now,” shares Kate. “DNAC has helped me connect to others going through the same problems as me. It’s helped me feel like I’m not alone.”
DNAC is a program provided by Disability Network for adults with disabilities. It’s designed to promote self-advocacy, personal empowerment, peer support, and community involvement. Lisa Woodcox, DNAC Program Coordinator, explains, “DNAC is important because it gives an individual a sense of belonging, a means to not just sit around and do nothing, and a way for them to build friendships and community relationships.”
When Kate first connected with Disability Network, she didn’t have friends. “I was introverted and stayed home. Now I do more things than I ever thought I could do,” Kate shares, “DNAC has given me more confidence in myself. I’ve learned how to be more patient, more trusting, and how to better handle conflict. Disability Network has given me the tools to learn how to help people. It’s given me a voice. I went with DNAC members to Legislation Day. I talked to legislators about accessibility, housing, and transportation. I felt good and important.”
“Disability Network has provided ways for me to get help and provide others with help who need it too. It’s helped me learn to look at situations from other people’s point-of-view,” states Kate. “I feel good because there are people out there who want to help,” she says.
For more information about Disability Network’s programs, contact Jessie Bachmann, Program Manager, at 231.922.0903, ext. 13.
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