Jamey Helgeson: What is advocacy and how does it help?

Published 4:27 pm Friday, November 5, 2021

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Webster’s Dictionary states that advocacy means, “One who supports another or a cause.”  Without strong advocacy at all levels, people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities may not have access to needed supports, as well as, opportunities to exercise their civil and human rights. 

Advocacy may be required to prevent and/or address abuse, neglect, and exploitation that people may experience.  Advocates have an ethical obligation to represent the desires and needs of the person they represent. Advocates must communicate effectively with individuals they assist, encouraging them to express and act on their thoughts, choices, and feelings about issues and solutions to a problem. The advocate should make sure the person with the disability fully understands the benefits and the risks of any decision. Individuals should be encouraged to consult with the important people in their lives.

When assisting an individual with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, advocates work to find solutions to issues that support the individual in leading the best quality of life they deserve. In certain circumstances, parents, other legal representatives, and supporters may need to be involved in making decisions with and on behalf of the individuals.  At such times, advocates must represent the interests of the individual. In our daily work at LIFE Mower County, we consistently strive to support individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in becoming good self-advocates.

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Self-advocates should know about, understand, and assert their rights.  Obtain support from interested parties to be an effective self-advocate.  Individuals should learn, practice, and develop the skills necessary to advocate for themselves.  Individuals need to practice self-determination, self-protection and obtain needed services to fully participate in their communities. That is why LIFE Mower County, supports expanding opportunities, empowering people, enriching lives by providing a better quality of life through, Learning, Inclusion, Fun, and Empowerment.  Help us support our mission in your everyday life, within your community, at your work.  Take a chance and share your life with others.

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People like you are the reason that LIFE Mower County is able to provide quality programs for our community.  Your contributions mean the world to everyone that we serve, and we could not do any of our work without you.  Through the pandemic, our community has shown us time and time again that what we do matters.

Your dedication to our mission, our values and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities is the reason that LIFE Mower County still exists today, over 69 years after its founding.  With your help, we can continue to sustain and grow our programs, even as we face the challenges to come as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.  Make a gift today at www.givemn.org/organization/Life-Mower-County.  Together, we support individuals. Together, we connect families.  Together, we inspire communities.

Upcoming Events

Monday: Cooking for Comfort, 4 p.m.

Tuesday: Creative Arts at Austin Artworks Center, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: Special Olympics Bowling, 4 p.m.

Thursday: CLOSED for Veterans Day

Friday: Thanksgiving Dinner, 5 p.m.

Nov. 15:  People First Aktion Club, 4 p.m.

Nov. 16:  Movie and Munchies, 6 p.m.

Nov. 17: Special Olympics Bowling, 4 p.m.

Nov. 18: Virtual Happy Hour, 4:30 p.m.

Nov. 19: Turkey  Twist Dance, 6 p.m.

Nov. 20:  Lunch and an Movie, 10:30 a.m.