Buffalo County Citizen Advocacy


Citizen Advocacy builds relationships between individuals with a developmental disability and ordinary citizens. The purpose is to build relationships that look out for the rights and interests of the disabled in the face of injustice, prejudice, brutality, rejection and isolation. We have many stories to tell.........

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Address: P. O. Box 1343
Kearney , NE 68848
Email: [email protected]
Phone Number: 308-234-9368
I love sharing about how my advocacy of Mary has enriched my life. This relationship began last yearin April when the Citizen Advocacy Coordinator brought Mary and me together for lunch at the Dairy Queen. It didn't take me long to see why Mary needed an advocate. On our first meeting Mary was in worn-out clashing clothing and worn-out shoes; her ears, face, teeth and hair needed improved hygiene. She was almost non-verbal and repeating the same words while looking down. She did not communicate what she wanted for lunch and allowed us to choose. I knew after this first meeting that I wanted to be her advocate. This is something Mary had to agree to, and she did nod in agreement when we took her to her apartment and talked about it. Mary and I met with the Coordinator again during that week to finalize our plan. My adventures with Mary began.

The first night I showed up to take Mary out, she sat on her bed and looked at me. I jabbered on about what we could do together and she continued to look at me. This continued for a while but when I mentioned the mall, she mentioned earrings, and she and I were off to the mall. She has been ready to go with me ever since. Once we became comfortable with each other, I began addressing her hygiene issues. She was very appreciative of my taking care of her. We shopped and improved her wardrobe. Our relationship continued to grow.

Once our relationship was well established, I began evaluating her life and looking for enriching ways to improve it. I noticed her place of employment was not providing her opportunities of growth and addressed that in a bi-yearly meeting at her facility. My idea did not go over well, and I caused a good deal of hostility when I suggested she be employed elsewhere, but I was there for Mary and Mary alone. I knew I was to look out for her needs first and foremost. I called the Coordinator and she was good to direct me to the Nebraska Advocacy Office who assured me that I was within my boundaries. By this time, I loved Mary and I wanted for her what I would have expected had she been a child of mine. I was really upset with the thought of Mary not having choices in her life.

Mary was her own guardian yet her developmental disability kept her from voicing her opinions and needs. Her mom would do anything she could to help Mary, but she shares the same genetic disability that kept her from directing Mary's life. I am not one to quit, so I investigated further to find out what else I could do. It looked like becoming Mary's guardian was the next logical choice. I could then lend Mary my voice and help direct her life, and so I began the process to become Mary's guardian.

I now have a new date to celebrate. I became Mary's guardian and I have a friendship developing with her mom and aunt. Mary is now working in a new facility where she is able to enjoy an enriching work environment with new friends and great staff. Her eyes sparkle and she walks proudly in her newest jeans. She makes my heart happy! It makes me so happy that the Coordinator called me to volunteer.