As a survivor of three traumatic brain injuries between 1984 and 2012, former client Nat Dean knows first-hand about living with physical disabilities. In 1988, she began working with service dogs to help mitigate the challenges her disabilities presented. In 1994, she moved to Santa Fe. By 2000, unable to cook for herself because of a particularly difficult health complication, she became a Kitchen Angels client.
As her health improved, Nat celebrated her “graduation” from Kitchen Angels in 2010. In honor of the occasion as well as her birthday, she made a commitment to begin cooking for herself and gaining more independence.
Nat believes Kitchen Angels’ support was instrumental in helping her translate her 25-year recovery into a new life chapter, giving new meaning to her personal journey through disability. Nat feels she has found her niche as a disabilities advocate, working directly with disabled people as well as with individuals at the local, state and federal levels. Nat tries to help guide policymakers, agencies, families and those living with disabilities toward discovering fresh avenues and creative solutions to facilitate systemic changes in the ‘disability experience.’ She sees her responsibility as helping to build bridges for greater access to supports and services in her work as a Disability-Focused Advocate, Consultant & Mediator.
Nat’s ultimate desire is to help people living with disabilities improve the trajectory of the challenging events they face from crisis to opportunity.