Whilst completing a work placement with Gertrude Cotter, I became familiar and fond of Val Browne, and Matthew Whitney and soon saw beyond their disabilities. I learned not only about what work needs to be done in regard to disability policy and societal attitude, but how to change it — through relationships, engagement, and possibly work placements.
In becoming acquainted with Val and Matthew personally, I developed a sort of personal bond (relationship) with those I worked with professionally. In doing so, as with any knowledge of another human being that becomes emotionally bonding, I began to care about Val and Matthew. One cannot care for another without attempting to remedy parts or people of/in their life that hurt them or could be improved (relationships care for the happiness of loved ones). As such, I became more informed of disability and mental health issues, because I wanted to help those for whom I personally cared. Now, when advocating for these issues, I have a personal passion because of lovely people in my life like Val and Matthew.
If one truly wants to help others care about the quality of care in institutional care or how those with disabilities are treated in our society (or any “social justice” issue, really), then have him or her have some form of regular contact with those most and truly affected, have him or her develop a relationship, have him or her do a work placement!