By: Madison

My name is Madison and I’ve been a Self-Advocate of Semiahmoo for three years. Being a part of this group helps me feel like I’m a full citizen because everything we do is community-based. I choose to participate in Self Advocates of Semiahmoo, sailing, paddle boarding and sharing my life and my story with others. I do this by posting pictures on my Facebook page, so my community can see what I’m involved in. Community is important.

I’m working on a voting project with an Involvement Coordinator from Self Advocates of Semiahmoo. In September I’m going to share information and teach people how to vote. I’m going to let people know that I voted for the first time last year and that they should too. There are rights and responsibilities that go along with voting. One is that you have the right to keep your vote a secret, another is it’s important to collect information on who the candidates are and what they believe in before you vote.

Having a choice and control can be overwhelming sometimes. Making the right decision is hard. In my situation, I was trying to choose between what was important to me and what my parents’ thought was best for me. I had to talk to my parents separately because they had two different viewpoints on what they wanted for my life. I convinced my parents that it was time for me to learn how to take control of my life. I had to decide where to live, how to make my new home accessible and who to hire to help me with my daily activities. One of my friendly workers takes time out of her life to help me. My decision to hire her has made my life more fulfilled.

I’ve had to overcome obstacles to get where I am, which makes me a more compassionate and determined person. Don’t be afraid to share your story, it’s more powerful when you tell the world.

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