Before Faith began volunteering for Disability Network, she lacked confidence and didn’t have many social connections. “I got out, but it was minimal. I was always quiet and never felt like I was really needed.” Because of the barriers she faced due to Spina Bifida, Faith’s Job Coach suggested connecting with Disability Network. Now she found the perfect position. Faith serves as a Volunteer Community Advocate for Disability Network.
Faith explained, “Thanks to Disability Network’s help, I’m able to work with kids. I go into schools and talk about disabilities.” She enjoys presenting to students, talking to youth about her disability and those that are not obvious, such as learning challenges. “It helps students understand disabilities better and gets them to ask questions and learn how they can help others. By the time they leave, they understand that even though a person has a disability, they can still be successful.”
Faith has also found her voice in the community. “I get out and just let people know that Disability Network is here. That people with disabilities want to interact with our community. That we want to enjoy the same things, even though we might have to do it a different way.” Faith shared, “Community is about accepting people, including those who have disabilities. If people don’t feel accepted, they don’t feel like they are a part of their community. Disability Network helped me learn how to be a part of my community and that I’m an important person in my community.”
Faith was presented with an Advocacy Award for being instrumental in making beaches accessible in Charlevoix and Emmet Counties. “One of my greatest moments was finally being able to put my toes in the sand and get into the water at Petoskey State Park Beach,” she shared. “I see myself more as an advocate now. I feel like I can finally give back to my community here in Petoskey. I’ve had a lot of people come up to me at the beach and say thank you for helping get the pathways installed.”
We rely on our dedicated family of volunteers for so much of what we accomplish. To learn how YOU can support people with disabilities to live fully engaged in the community, click here.