DRS in Action – “A Wonderful Privilege”
“It is a wonderful privilege and a gift to be invited into the life of an individual who is reaching out and trusting the stranger on the other end of the phone,” says Katie Harper, DRS Lead Independent Living Specialist.
Calls can range from simple information such as, “where is the food bank located?,” to the very complicated call she received yesterday.
“A young woman phoned me in tears as her only brother lay dying at the Medical Center of the Rockies,” Katie said. The consumer was angry and frustrated with the situation and desperate for help. They talked about all the resources that were available and phone numbers were given. Once the hard facts were discussed the conversation went into another direction. The consumer began to share her story and the story of her brother, his drug use and the effects on the family to his disabilities. Katie and her consumer were on the phone for well over an hour and half. They shared support stories and shed tears together as her pain was so apparent.
Katie has had two follow up calls with her. Her parting words were, “I feel God sent you to me and I have found a new family member and very best friend.” With that Katie let the consumer know that she could contact her anytime during business hours and that she looked forward to meeting her in person.
In her gentle way, Katie provided two valuable services – peer support services and information/referral.