Monica is a 31 year old woman who has an intellectual disability. She lives on her own in a unit in Caboolture. She has had some really bad experiences in the past where people have hurt her. This has made her feel like she has no control in her life and what happens to her. When Better Together met and started supporting her, we worked out with her what support she needed from us. What she really needed was for us to help her with developing safe relationships in the community. She really wanted someone who would be on her side, who listens to her, helps her work things out and doesn’t give up on her.
Joy is retired with her husband Maurice. Her two daughters and their families live in the Morton Bay Region. Joy was asked by Better Together to become a Citizen Advocate to a young woman who needed a friend, or even better someone who could be like family. Joy’s role is to spend time with Monica and develop a relationship of friendship and trust with her. To be a mentor and role model, much like an Aunt would do – and make her feel that she is important to her
Better Together spent a lot of time with Joy to make sure she would be a good person in Monica’s life, and understand how important it was to Monica to have family and a lifelong relationship. When Monica and Joy met, Joy gave her a small gift bag, telling her “I hope you don’t think I’m overdoing it, I’m just so excited about meeting you I wanted to give you a small gift to mark the occasion”. Monica took the small gifts out of the gift bag. There was two coffee cups – Joy told her they were for her to keep at her place for when Joy would pop in for a coffee. There was also a little book of friendship quotations and a hibiscus flower, which Joy explained was out of her garden. There was also a card. It said how excited Joy was about finally meeting Monica and that she looked forward to having many coffees and chit-chats together. At the bottom she wrote friendship is forever – Joy. Monica looked absolutely besotted with it all.
Six years later Monica and Joy are still close friends. Monica and Joy’s daughters joke about how Monica gets postcards and letters from Joy when she is away and her “other two daughters” don’t.