By Brenda Rodríguez, Program Director
Before the pandemic, I would accompany clients to various locations throughout the city. During that time, a client named Karina had reached out to Taller de José because she was trying to advocate for her son Santiago.*
Santiago had previously been diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety. Karina arrived at our doors feeling overwhelmed but mostly surrendered to the idea that she would never be able to advocate for her son. After giving Karina time to express her concerns, I asked her if she had ever heard about adult guardianship.
I explained to Karina that guardianship meant that she could be appointed by the court to make decisions on her adult son’s behalf. When I told her this information, there was a look of relief on her face. Karina shared that she had told many people about her son’s diagnosis, but no one had ever offered to help. We proceeded with calling a legal services non-profit specializing in adult guardianship; there, they set up an appointment and filled out her extensive application. Karina was given a court date, and we scheduled an accompaniment for her hearing at the end of the appointment.
The court date finally arrived, and Karina was given adult guardianship of her son Santiago. Karina was very grateful, and before our accompaniment ended, I reminded her to check in about the annual report.
Fast forward to today, I received a phone call from Karina. We checked in about her son and his well-being. I asked Karina how I could help her, and she said that the best help that I had ever given her was three years ago.
Karina shared that she began volunteering at the organization that helps parents obtain adult guardianship of their children. By joining this organization, Karina ensures that parents feel heard and understood, similar to how Taller de José was able to help her.
We don’t always get to see the impact of our work, but Karina’s story is an example of how accompaniment not only helps meet clients’ immediate goals, but also often inspires them to share that knowledge and confidence with others in their community.
*Names and identifying details have been modified to protect client privacy.