I have been Kim’s citizen advocate for 17 years. I cannot imagine my life without her. When we met she was 6 ½ years old, but now she has grown from a sweet little girl into a delightful young lady!
We have been through a lot together. I’ve gone to court on her behalf, which has resulted in her being able to stay with her loving family. I have been a participant in her Individual Education Plans, and have spent nights at the hospital, after her surgeries, to ensure that she had appropriate care.
Kim’s family appreciates my support. I help them to know what Kim’s rights are and encourage them to insist on having her rights met. We will be sure that she has the most integrated, safest, and fullest life possible.
We never would have met if it had not been for the introduction by the Citizen Advocacy coordinators of Atlanta. That office has been a source of encouragement and support through the years.
Without their support of our relationship, Kim and I would still be friends, but because of the support that I get from the Citizen Advocacy office, I have been challenged to think in a clear manner about how I can speak what she would have me speak on her behalf.
Because of our relationship, Kim is a part of my entire neighborhood. Her friends in the neighborhood (more than 50) now know how to carry on a conversation with someone who does not use words, a computer, or a micro board. When I met Kim her social life consisted only of her loving family coming to visit her. She is now a part of a worshiping community that asks where she is and how she is and sends hugs to her when she is not in attendance. In other words, because I was invited to become Kim’s advocate, her life is happier, safer and much more enlivened than it would have been without our relationship. My life is much fuller, my family is emotionally attached to her, and the community is enjoying the gifts of love, peace and acceptance that Kim gives to each of us.Marie Selby, Citizen Advocate