by Kara Anderson
My name is Kara. I have lived my entire life with a diverse ability. I have found my path to independence by becoming a mom of a son who also has a diverse ability. He is 19 and gets lots of support from his grandparents and CLBC.
My son and I lived with my parents until eight years ago. With the help of Supporting Apartment Living, now Supporting Advocates in Leadership (SAL), I learned to live in my own home, cook healthy meals, pay bills and shop. I also learned to find my voice and stand up for myself, my son and others.
This led to the beginning of the Self Advocates of Nanaimo (SAN) with the support of some of my peers and SAL. I now have a group of friends who are like having second family.
I work for CLBC as a self advocate presenter for the Welcome Workshops which introduce CLBC services to adults with diverse abilities. I also present workshops for Empowering Self Advocates to Take Action (ESATTA), a planning process called People Planning Together, which is self advocates teaching other self advocates. That is how I met my boyfriend who is my co-presenter.
I have found through my independence a way to help others by sitting on the Community Council for Central and Upper Vancouver Island. The council is made up of self advocates, family members and community members who are connected to and support adults with diverse abilities.
I enjoy my independence by living life to the fullest. I have a wacky sense of humour which can be helpful at times when advocating for my self or others. One of the things that helps me define my independence is that I don’t let limitations define my life.