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2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit

By Their Side

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Autism, Civil Rights, Developmentally Disabled Centers, Disabilities, Disabled Persons Rights, Down Syndrome, Health, Human Services

Mission: By Their Side guides families and provides advocacy for Marylanders with an intellectual/developmental disability. By Their Side believes everyone deserves respect, choices, and quality of life. We support our mission by -Providing lifelong personal advocacy for those we serve; -Protecting individual's legal rights -Guiding individuals and families through the maze of resources in the service delivery system; and -Assisting families with transition planning.

Results: By Their Side provides lifelong advocacy for 63 Marylanders. 30 families have arranged for additional visits and monitoring. 200 additional members will be served in the future when their parents are gone. With 15-30 years of experience each, By Their Side Advocates are an excellent resource. We have helped to assure members continue to receive the necessary support identified by their parents, even sturdy shoes to prevent falls. We help distant Trustees learn about immediate financial needs. We advocate for health and safety, for example soft meals and dietary evaluation for a member we found attempting to swallow food whole at her day program after her teeth were removed. And we advocate for life preferences, for example we arranged a clean location for g-tube feeding for a member who wanted to work a full day at a nearby art studio. Our advocacy is as varied as the needs of the individuals and families we serve. We are a small non-profit with an enormous mission in the eyes of the parents who have funded our services, and rely on donations to stretch limited resources.

Target demographics: Families and individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities

Direct beneficiaries per year: 90 individuals and their families

Geographic areas served: Maryland

Programs: 1. Lifelong Advocacy Services for Marylanders with developmental disabilities after their parents are no longer able, including annual assessment visits and follow up to identified issues, to assure individual preferences and needs are addressed, life enrichment opportunities are offered, and parent advocacy concerns are remembered. We consult with siblings and Trustees. 2. Advocacy Plan Services: Families may fund additional advocacy services such as visits and monitoring at regular intervals, or short term involvement to assist to resolve a particular issue or facilitate service linkage for example. We provide update reports to remaining family and/or trustees. 3. Sponsor Support: While parents continue to provide advocacy, By Their Side also offers information and referral, and seminars on pertinent topics.

Community Stories

1 Story from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I've known about this non profit since 1990 while employed by a MD funded advocacy agency for people with developmental disabilities. I always felt this was a perfect option for families who could feel that their loved one would always have an advocate during their lifetime and especially for when they pass on. No matter what other agencies were involved in their loved ones life, they knew there would always be this constant they could count on