The Freedom To Be Yourself
When someone tells you to ‘just be yourself’ it is clear that we should not try to be something that we are not. We know that we need to stick to what we know about ourselves and put forth our best. But circumstances and lack of support can often lead to one not knowing what lies beneath their own skin. Imagine having to fight for basic comforts like food and shelter and suddenly you lose the one thing that has carried you through everything; your legs. Where do you start? What resources are available? The person you ask makes all the difference. We have all had that friend or family member to go to when we are out of choices, but what if they can’t relate? Sometimes it takes being around someone going through the same struggles to realize that we are not alone. Adapting to change is nothing new, and lucky for us someone has been there before us.
Peer support is the GPS system that can guide us through the uncertainty. When concerns or problems are shared, solutions and ways to adapt are brainstormed, bringing us a new reality for ourselves. One that will become more familiar over time. A peer mentor is best summed up by Freedom Volunteer and peer mentor Shelby Wolter who defines a peer mentor as someone who wont walk in front of you or behind you but walk beside you. Peer mentors like Shelby can promote personal growth by sharing their own experiences and explaining how they have dealt with the ‘ups and downs’ of having a disability. Also, peer mentors help people to reach their desired goals for independence and self-sufficiency. Freedom Resource Center is fortunate to have 35 peer mentors providing support in 21 counties across North Dakota and Minnesota. If you or someone you know needs somebody to walk beside them, call 1-800-450-0459 or visit Freedomrc.org.