Broadening the Reach of Consumer Voices
There have been some exciting changes with ShelterCare’s Consumer Council. I’ve been working very hard, getting the word out to consumers about the Council and what the benefits are for individuals to be a part of the council and to have a voice.
One way I’ve been doing that is by visiting ShelterCare program sites to talk about what the Consumer Council is and why it is important. We discussed the council, Voices magazine, the new Consumer Facebook group and upcoming events. What I learned from taking time to get to know these individuals is that there are several talented consumers. Writers, musicians, artists, and much more.
We have increased the number of consumers coming to council meetings. A few who never really stepped out of their comfort zone have found by stepping out and attending their first meeting they do have a voice and it has value. For the most part it really helped these individuals find purpose and acceptance with their peers. Some are excited to be a part of the Voices magazine. Others were excited to be a representative for their program and for their neighbors who want their voice heard but are not able to join us.
The new ShelterCare Consumers Facebook group is a page for consumers to go to for upcoming events within Shelter Care and local community events.
Consumers have partnered within ShelterCare programs and in the larger community to make Winter gift bags for the Garden Avenue program. I have really enjoyed taking the lead of giving back to the community.
I think it is very important to increase awareness of ShelterCare services and create opportunities to support one another. For example November 20th I took the lead for a consumer-run Celebration of Thanks Potluck at the Afiya Apartments. Several consumers partnered with donors within our community and made a great meal. Turkey, ham, many side dishes, and desserts. I consider this event a great success. Consumers really got involved with the preparing the meal, decorating, and general set-up and clean-up.
I am excited about the upcoming New Year and can’t wait to see where it leads us.