Rochelle and her mom

Rochelle and her mom

In 2010, I started having trouble with supports and services with my daughter Rochelle. I went to Gateway Association for support and attended one of the Families Forward meetings.

It was there I connected with two amazing people who helped me advocate for what I needed for my daughter.

I made some of my best friends through Gateway. I just loved going to the meetings to listen peoples’ stories, to get help and to offer help.

The most important years of my life were from 2010 to 2012. Gateway was a wonderful place, a family atmosphere where everyone understood your situation. It was a group of people who understood you before you even spoke. They understood your life because they were living it.

I made some of my best friends through Gateway. I just loved going to the meetings to listen peoples’ stories, to get help and to offer help.

I learned a lot about inclusive living and, because of what Gateway taught me about inclusion, I resisted putting my parents in a nursing home.

Being an advocate is a learning process. Gateway teaches people how to be assertive.

We have to tell our stories because they will help other people.

We’re all in it together, but we have to recognize that the world is not very accepting. Taking my daughter places is still a challenge. I still feel marginalized.

Remember to ask for help. No matter what the problem is, there’s a solution. Never give up. Persevere.

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