Jenny’s extensive background in a range of human services has given her the opportunity to work with, and forge strong relationships with many people with disabilities and their families. She has a long term commitment to Capricorn Citizen Advocacy, having undertaken many roles within the organisation both during its formative years and since its inception.
Her community service has been equally diverse, ranging from being a Red Cross Calling collector as a teenager; an honorary Activities Officer for local Diabetes Youth Camps for more than 20 years; and an active committee member for a number of organisations with a focus on social justice. She is a former Deputy Chairperson of the Queensland Disability Advisory Council; a former Director of Disability Advocacy Network Australia (DANA); and former President of the Qld Community Services Employers Association.
She currently sits on the Management Committee of the Capricorn Community Development Association (CCDA); is a core member of the Citizen Advocacy Study Group and is herself a Citizen Advocate is to a man with Down Syndrome.
Jenny is employed as the NDIS Appeals Advocate covering the Central Qld region and in her spare time loves to travel with partner Peter and lavish affection upon their adopted pussy cat, Bo-Bo.
I became interested in Citizen Advocacy when I attended a Social Role Valorisation (SRV) workshop early in my career as an Occupational Therapist (OT).
I was concerned regarding the vulnerability of people with disabilities, in particular those with few interpersonal relationships of a freely-given nature.
I joined like-minded people in CQ to explore advocacy options – and Capricorn Citizen Advocacy is the outcome. I have always being involved as an Associate Advocate to provide support to the Program and Advocates in the areas of SRV & OT as they pertain to protégés.
I joined the Management Committee in 2015 and have the role as Secretary.
I have also recently become an Advocate for a young boy, and am appreciative of the opportunity to get to know him.
Michelle has been involved with Capricorn Citizen Advocacy since 2013 and she is now a Management Committee Member as well as a Citizen Advocate.
She brings with her a vibrant personality, teamed up with a can do attitude and a love for people.
When I was first approached about becoming an Advocate, I must admit that I knew nothing about the organisation, what it did, or how it helped people in our community who had disabilities. I have always been passionate about helping those who could not, because of their circumstances help themselves and making sure they were not being treated unjustly. It did not take long for me to realise that I wanted to part of this group of volunteers who gave of their time to assist others.
During my time with Capricorn Citizen Advocacy I have been privileged to meet some very special folk who are being assisted by a Citizen Advocate. I was thrilled to work with a very special lady who needed help to enable her to live independently and manage her own day to day affairs. The reward you get, when you see someone’s life change and know that they are happy and enjoying a life that stretches them to achieve things they previously thought to be impossible, can’t be put into words. We may not be able to change the world, but if we can help to change one person’s life for the better – we have achieved much.
Age is no barrier to being an Advocate. There are people with disabilities who have been cared for by family until they were no longer able to provide the support. What a relief for an elderly parent to know that their adult son/daughter can be provided with a volunteer who has their best interest at heart.
As a Member of the Committee I have also seen the other side of this organisation. Much time is spent making sure that Advocates are matched with just the right Protégé so that the relationship can grow. Not just a friend, but someone who can be trusted to stand up for them in any situation and help to bring out a satisfactory outcome. An Advocate can help by including the Protégé in any decision making process regarding their future. This is something that many of us take for granted, but can be overlooked when a person with disabilities is living in a paid-for environment.
If these stories touch your heart – you may want to think about becoming an Advocate too!