We tell our advocates that their partner (the person in need they’ve been matched with) may have more people who care for them than we first realize. They may discover some dedicated family members or service workers who can join the advocate in setting and accomplishing goals for their partner.
Advocates may also want to invite trustworthy friends to join them in accomplishing goals as well. Below is a recent example of such a partnership.
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. Ecclesiastes 4:12a
A movement swept the country in the 1970s and 1980s to deinstitutionalize people with disabilities. Therefore, for decades now, many people with disabilities who receive Medicaid have been cared for at home by family members, group homes, and in-home support. Many, however, ended up on indefinite waiting lists, on the streets, in shelters, and even in prisons.
Many like John. When I met John he had been had been in and out of shelters for several years until he was finally placed in a long term care facility. In spring of 2013, I introduced John to Anthony; a compassionate, even keel, empathic man, who soon became his advocate. They've met consistently for more than 3 years now. The nurses and other staff now notice dramatic improvement since John now has a friend he is seeing on a regular basis.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12b
When Anthony visited with John he would tell of the many church friends from the days he was out on the street and how he hopes they can visit.
In the spring of 2016, Do For One entered (and won!) a competition through Redeemer's Center for Faith and Work. At the pitch night, my wife and I met Chris, this really outgoing guy who was moved by the mission of Do For One. Chris told us he moved by the mission and that it reminded him of someone he used to know. It wasn’t long until we realized that Chris was he talking about John!
Chris has since attended a Do For One info session and has started to visit John regularly again. John is getting up and out of his bed more often and even starting to engage with other residents of the facility he lives in.
"My reunion with an old friend, and the making of a new one marked the beginning of a major shift in my life. My new friend, Andrew Oliver, had reintroduced me to an old verse that I thought I knew in Matthew concerning, "What you do for one...". And In working with his organization I was reintroduced not only to an old verse, and an old friend, but also all of humanity. My vision had shifted from being a person who looks out and sees only the brokenness of the lives orbiting mine, to a person who looks out and sees the fingerprint of God's hand on every life - everyone, every life royalty. To be frank, I never imagined that a pitch contest would bring me so close to a friend I once though lost to me, while opening up an opportunity to meet new friends that would deepen the reality of God's Word in my life."
The concept, “Circles of Support” can be a helpful tool when organizing ways of bringing involved people together around a person in need to support them. Click here for the blog describing the Circles of Support concept.
(names were changed in this story to protect privacy)