Advocates of the Month October 2012

Denise DeRoy

Denise DeRoy was born and raised in West Caldwell, NJ. For most of her life, Denise lived at home with her parents. In September 2012, Denise came to Community Access Unlimited due to a significant change in her living situation. In order to sustain membership, Denise is waiting to receive funding that will stabilize her housing. Evidently, Denise is frustrated with the system as she has had to “jump through many hoops” for the past five years in hopes of obtaining entitlements such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income. Thankfully, Community Access Unlimited is saving a bed at a house in Cranford until her needs are met.

One of Denise’s main goals as per her IHP is to find a new job in the community. Denise has held many jobs in the past at various offices. Most recently, she has been attending a day program in North Plainfield, NJ. Although going to a day program is not ideal for Denise, she appreciates the fact that it allows her to meet new people and make friends. Ultimately, Denise wants a job that will allow her to help people as she enjoys giving back to the community.

Although Denise is new to the advocacy movement, she feels strongly about the closure of developmental centers in New Jersey and the United States. Denise has never lived in a developmental center, but is completely aware of the fact that, “people don’t have freedoms; you don’t do anything with your life when you live in an institution”. Denise attended her first Helping Hands meeting in October 2012 and continues to exhibit her excitement for upcoming advocacy events. Denise views the self-advocacy movement as another outlet for contributing to her community. She believes that it is extremely important to teach younger advocates about the “Stop the R-word” campaign and people-first language as a means to ensure equal treatment for people with disabilities. Since the New American Movement team met Denise, she has been regularly participating in state-wide advocacy groups, attending applicable events, and has conducted a presentation on our behalf at the 2013 Self-Directed Supports Conference. We’re happy she’s a member of the movement!

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