Adults share personal experiences on services through Devereux New Jersey’s Advisory Board
“Our Advisory Board members have provided us with insightful feedback on our programs and services that will make us an even better provider.”
Adults who receive services through Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health New Jersey – who also sit on the center’s Advisory Board for individuals served – have an opportunity to make their voices heard and share their personal experiences on the services they receive.
Once a week, approximately eight volunteer board members meet virtually to offer their opinions and discuss a wide range of topics, including what it is like to grow up with a disability, as well as how to overcome barriers, build coping skills and increase self-esteem.
“Devereux New Jersey has two other Advisory Boards, comprised of family members and members of the community. We wanted to set up something similar to gather feedback directly from the individuals we serve,” said Bishop. “Since launching this Advisory Board in 2021, we have received input from our adults on program enhancements they would like to see, as well as how we might be able to do things differently. While it has been eye-opening in some ways, it also has been affirming because our individuals speak very highly of Devereux.”
Building life skills
In addition to having an opportunity to offer their unique viewpoints, adults who serve on the Advisory Board are gaining valuable life skills.
“Our individuals are developing self-advocacy skills and learning how to participate on a team,” Bishop noted. “While they may not always like a particular topic or agree with someone else on the board, they are discovering the importance of listening to other people’s opinions, taking turns and contributing their own ideas. These individuals are learning there has to be give and take, understanding and compromise – all critical life lessons.”
Working together, contributing ideas
The adults who sit on the Advisory Board look forward to contributing their ideas each week. Look below to find out what just a few of them love most about their roles.
“Participating in the Advisory Board makes me feel good. I get to advocate for myself and fight for what I believe in. I think my ideas will help if people listen.”
“I love it because I can make not just my life better, but I can distribute my ideas to make everyone’s life better. I’ve given some ideas about how we can be more involved in our own lives and the services we receive.”
“I want people to know from the heart that people can work together to solve problems, grow and learn. I’ve asked for more training on being independent. I want other people to do better in life, and I hope my ideas help.”
“Every day, we strive to provide the best possible care and support for the individuals we serve,” Bishop shared. “As part of our efforts, it is important that we ask our adults how we can best assist them. We need their feedback so we can better understand what is working and where we can make improvements as we work together to help them lead healthy, happy and fulfilling lives.”
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