Our peer advocates work with you to overcome barriers that stand between you and an independent quality of life.
Staff members who live with their own disabilities are available for people who have disabilities and need assistance in living as independently as they choose. Whether the consumer’s disability is recent or long-term, the peer mentors serve as living templates to successful independence.
A peer mentor works to motivate other people with disabilities by being a role model and offering encouragement, guidance, listening, teaching, suggestions, and referrals to resources.
Through the peer relationship, people with disabilities identify the barriers that are preventing them from being as independent as they would like to be. Then they work with the peer mentor to create goals for overcoming those barriers, and to develop a plan to accomplish those goals through guidance and encouragement.
Then the peer mentor and the consumer work together on the plan.
Programs that Disability Rights & Resources have developed to assist you include:
Positive Choices = Positive Changes
Disability Rights & Resources has developed the Positive Choices = Positive Changes program to promote success for young people with disabilities in their homes, in their schools, and in the community. We believe that early success leads to lasting effect.
The youth program will focus on two primary groups of youth:
- “At risk” youth with disabilities currently within the school system, the foster care system, the mental health system, and/or the juvenile court system.
- Youth with disabilities transitioning out of the school system, the foster care system, and/or the juvenile correctional system.
We feel compelled to impact these youth because:
- Compared with their non-disabled peers, youth with disabilities have been shown to be more likely to develop mental health impairments, have an unintended pregnancy, and become involved with the juvenile justice system.
- Youth with disabilities are also more likely than their non-disabled peers to drop out, or to be “pushed out” of school, and are at a disproportionately greater risk of suspension and expulsion, as well as being less likely to attend or finish college.*
The heart of the Disability Rights & Resources Positive Choices = Positive Changes program will be its mentoring approach.
Research has shown that a caring and sustained relationship with a mentor:
- Can assist youth with disabilities with a variety of developmental tasks, including social skills and leadership development, career awareness, academic achievement, and developing skills to overcome societal barriers.
- Research suggests that effective mentoring of youth with disabilities can assist with improving school attendance, reducing disciplinary issues, raising grade point averages, and increasing self-esteem.*
The Disability Rights & Resources youth program is based on a foundational philosophy that positive thoughts lead to positive actions; positive actions lead to positive feelings; positive feelings lead back to positive thoughts. An on-going positive circle of thoughts, actions and feelings is thereby created. The mentor will work one-on-one with each youth to promote the caring and sustained relationship which is essential for success in the school, and the community. The positive action model will provide a consistent and on-going foundation with which to work with each child as the relationship develops. Each youth will develop his/her own positive action goals upon which to work and to enhance his/her own success at home, at school and in the community.
For more information or to make a referral, call Richard Klamm at 704-537-0550, ext. 14, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) FY 2011 Mentoring Youth with Disabilities