The Power of Saying Yes
You may wonder about being one of the 36 who save the world, but to one person—your protégé—you might just be saving theirs. Here are some of the ways in which your powerful “Yes” can help in assuring life affirming/saving rights:
The right to security in one’s personal life. Someone who has never experienced security is apt to feel innscure about most aspects of life. A strong personal relationship offers the possibility of your protégé coming to feel valued, important, and empowered. When she feels the confidence that your genuine relationship can afford, she is much more likely to feel secure.
The right to a valued role in society that includes respect, prestige, and inclusion. If no one wants to spend time with your protégé, others will conclude that he may not be valuable, and that they too should stay away from him. However, the valued role of friend you have with your protégé causes others to reconsider the assumptions society has of people with disabilities.
The right to self-respect. If your protégé sees that others treat her poorly, then she may think that she deserves this treatment because she in not worthwhile or even that she is unlovable. On the other hand, per- haps being treated with respect by her advocate will make her feel that she is someone people enjoy being with because she has something unique and important to offer.
The right to be protected from abuse, exploitation. neglect, and abandonment. If your protégé has been deeply wounded and has come to expect being treated badly, it is imperative that someone who has value and prestige in the community advocate for him and protect him from the awful things that can occur.
Your independence of services gives you the freedom to do that without the fear of financial and personal consequences and assures that your protégé has a powerfully ally.
The right to acceptance and love. If there is no unpaid person in one’s life, sooner or later, the reality of being a commodity, a unit, a bed, leaves that person—your protégé—- feeling rejected at the deepest level. A freely given relationship can provide an alternative view and provide the self respect that comes from being valued.
There is no safety net that can bear the weight of human indifference. And I have yet to encounter a set of rules, regulations or policies that was any stronger that a single, committed, engaged person who was standing shoulder to shoulder with a person navigating the daily challenges of life in the community.