My name is Michelle and I live in Nelson, BC with my partner and our cat named Rosy.  I love living in Nelson because it is a beautiful place. I often spend my spare time at an adult day program called Bigby Place. I also go for walks, eat and volunteer at a local community kitchen. I am a social-bee and love to meet new people. My best friend and I get along so well, she likes my gentle soul.

Recently, my homeshare coordinator told me about the Rise-up! Conference in Kelowna. I thought I should go. I didn’t want to go at first but I was convinced by them to go. I was concerned about the cost but I saved enough money. I am a member of the Nelson Self-Advocacy Group so I have interest in self-advocacy, which was a theme of the conference. It was packed, so many people. I met many new people there from different areas. There was a dinner and a dance and I had a lot of fun.

I went to different workshops on different topics. One topic we learned about was how institutions were normal in the past.

They were prisons, you couldn’t go where you wanted, meet who wanted to meet with, and basically had no freedom to make your own choices. I also went to a talk on homeshares which is how I live now. Homeshares are better than institutions. You have much more freedom.

I sometimes get annoyed by having to say where I’m going, but it is a safety thing so I understand.  I plan to share my experience at the conference with the Nelson Self-Advocacy Group and talk about what I learned.

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