Evidently, people who have experienced living in a full time care situation, such as a mental health unit or a home for intellectually disabled, but are now living in flats or houses in the community, often need help to keep themselves afloat.
According to Citizens Advocacy Service (CAS) there are thousands of New Zealand citizens that need the help of volunteers to assist them to navigate their way successfully in their neighbourhoods and to achieve a satisfying life.
The CAS has produced a documentary about Alison’s life of being sent to an institute as a child and she tells her story of her time locked in there but now as a champion of human rights for all people.
Ana Maria de Vos has worked for Auckland CAS for 11 years and says Alison is a great example of someone who has thrived with the help of CAS and now is a voice for people with disabilities.
“We have high expectations of the people we help. We show them what they can do and they try their best and to our delight, they usually achieve even more,” Ana Maria says.
“We really need more volunteers. This is our big push at the moment. Volunteers make such a huge difference to people’s lives.”
This year Citizens Advocacy Service celebrates 25 years and some of their volunteers have been with them for that long. It is currently operating in Auckland and Rotorua but they would really like to have the service operating in many more places.
“We need to wake people up to the fact that residents in our communities with intellectual disabilities often need help,” she says, “I think we have a moral obligation to help our fellow citizens,” Ana Marie says.