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Volunteer guardians needed for adults with disabilities

Josh Curley, Shawn Cline
Posted at 5:23 PM, Mar 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-09 20:30:37-05

TULSA, Okla. — Areas in the state begin to rebound as more and more Oklahomans are vaccinated, and the state moves into phase three. However, a demographic is seemingly forgotten and needs help from willing volunteers to keep going through life.

Representatives of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services said there is a waiting list of people who need support from volunteer guardians, who end up becoming much more than that.

Shawn Cline is 19-year-old Josh Curley’s guardian. Cline helps Curley make medical and financial decisions. The two were paired by the state’s guardianship assistance programin October.

“Josh unfortunately can’t make an informed decision about things and doesn’t totally understand these things,” Sean Ballard said. “That’s why he needs a guardian.”

Ballard is the volunteer guardianship coordinator and says the pandemic has made it hard to recruit people. At least 10 people in Oklahoma are on a waiting list to be paired with a guardian.

The road to becoming a guardian includes a background check and training. Only Oklahomans over the age of 18 can sign up.

“It’s a great way to enrich your own life and enrich a life of someone else," Cline said.

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