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Georgia Voices That Count: Seven Years of Advocacy Training and Support Georgia Voices That Count: Seven Years of Advocacy Training and Support

Introduction Advocacy project p Quarterly meetings p Curriculum p Support the disability community p Introduction Advocacy project p Quarterly meetings p Curriculum p Support the disability community p Political awareness p

Activities of GVTC Provides advocacy training p Fosters peer support p Shares resources p Activities of GVTC Provides advocacy training p Fosters peer support p Shares resources p Communicates historical context p

Activities (Continued) Promotes self-advocacy and self-determination p Emphasizes lifelong commitment p Supports personal growth Activities (Continued) Promotes self-advocacy and self-determination p Emphasizes lifelong commitment p Supports personal growth and achievement p Creates leaders and activists p Strengthens community p

What Makes GVTC Unique? Only for people with disabilities p 80% taught by people What Makes GVTC Unique? Only for people with disabilities p 80% taught by people with disabilities p Cross-disability p Collaboration of disability organizations p

What Makes GVTC Unique? (cont. ) Training with support p Individualized experience p Experiential What Makes GVTC Unique? (cont. ) Training with support p Individualized experience p Experiential training p Addresses disparities p Challenges the “disability hierarchy” p

Conferences and Curriculum p History of Self-Advocacy n n n Held in Atlanta Tour Conferences and Curriculum p History of Self-Advocacy n n n Held in Atlanta Tour the MLK Center Make connection between Civil Rights Movement and the Disability Rights Movement

Conferences and Curriculum p Advocating for Community Living n n Held in Athens Learn Conferences and Curriculum p Advocating for Community Living n n Held in Athens Learn about the Americans with Disabilities Act Learn about the Olmstead Decision Learn about supports and barriers to community living

Conferences and Curriculum p Advocating for Employment n n Held in Warm Springs Tour Conferences and Curriculum p Advocating for Employment n n Held in Warm Springs Tour the Little White House Consider why Roosevelt hid his disability Examine the supports and barriers regarding employment

Conferences and Curriculum p Leadership n n Held in Atlanta Coincides with participation in Conferences and Curriculum p Leadership n n Held in Atlanta Coincides with participation in Disability Day at the State Capitol Consider the attributes of good leadership Graduation

Circles of Support n David – to help deal with serious illness n Tommy Circles of Support n David – to help deal with serious illness n Tommy – to help publish book n Sheila – to help plan move back into community n Annette – to help move from nursing facility

Participants’ Achievements p Joy Norman n Class: GVTC #4 Advocacy Project: create job fair Participants’ Achievements p Joy Norman n Class: GVTC #4 Advocacy Project: create job fair for people with disabilities Current activities: p Works with Mayor’s “Committee for Persons With Disabilities” for annual job fair p Now on Statewide Independent Living Council p Working to develop Center for Independent Living in Columbus area p Provides support to many individuals and causes p Quote: “I’m a voice to be reckoned with. ”

Participants’ Achievements p Margo Waters n n n Class: GVTC #2 Advocacy Project: organize Participants’ Achievements p Margo Waters n n n Class: GVTC #2 Advocacy Project: organize curb cuts Current activities: p Testified at State Capitol regarding the Independent Care Waiver Program p Helped create legislation for the Visitability Campaign p Testified at city council regarding pedestrian accessibility p Now employed at dis. ABILITY LINK and supporting many persons with disabilities and important issues p Quote: “Voices has empowered me to speak up whenever, where ever necessary. ”

Participants’ Achievements p Ryan Mercer n n n Class: GVTC #6 Advocacy Project: create Participants’ Achievements p Ryan Mercer n n n Class: GVTC #6 Advocacy Project: create a website featuring resources for young people with disabilities p http: //ryansresources. homestead. com/ Current activities: p Continues to update site p Featured in Sept. ‘ 08 AJC article p Member of People First of Atlanta p Working on his own plans for independence p Quote: “They taught me how to stand up for myself. ”

Participants’ Achievements p Betty Hasan-Amin n Class: GVTC #6 Advocacy Project: create and distribute Participants’ Achievements p Betty Hasan-Amin n Class: GVTC #6 Advocacy Project: create and distribute a brochure of resources relevant to people new to independent living Current activities: p Board member of the Interfaith Disability Connection p Current Organizing Institute participant working to connect disability and refugee communities p Active in transportation advocacy p Quote: “We are strong. ”

Participants’ Achievements p Whitney Walker n n n Class: GVTC #1 Advocacy Project: Letter Participants’ Achievements p Whitney Walker n n n Class: GVTC #1 Advocacy Project: Letter writing campaign for full implementation of the Olmstead Decision Current activities: p Continues to write actively p Attended Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered 2008 p Member of People First of Atlanta p Quote: “Georgia Voices That Count helps a lot of people help a lot of people. ”

Participants’ Achievements p Barbaraann Bongiovanni n n Class: GVTC #4 Advocacy Project: p n Participants’ Achievements p Barbaraann Bongiovanni n n Class: GVTC #4 Advocacy Project: p n successfully advocated for accessible sidewalks, crosswalks and curb cuts in her community Current Activities: p Appointed board member of the Georgia Independent Living Network Meeting and dis. ABILITY LINK p developed summer camp for teenagers with disabilities to learn about self advocacy and self determination as part of The Organizing Institute p Certified Peer Supporter through The Georgia Peer Support project and actively provides peer support p Volunteers in local and statewide organizations for people with and without disabilities p Quote: "I am truly a Georgia Voice that Counts!"

Participants’ Achievements p Percy Hardy n n n Class: GVTC #5 Advocacy Project: Become Participants’ Achievements p Percy Hardy n n n Class: GVTC #5 Advocacy Project: Become a peer supporter Current Activities: p Is now a Certified Peer Supporter p Recognizes that his experiences, though difficult at times, has provided him the unique ability to offer support to other people with disabilities p People First board member and active in disability community events p Overcame his fear of public speaking! p Quote: "I am now confident I have something to offer!"

Participants’ Achievements p Dawn Alford n n n Class: GVTC #4 Advocacy Project: a Participants’ Achievements p Dawn Alford n n n Class: GVTC #4 Advocacy Project: a student at Georgia Tech and working on campus accessibility issues Current Activities: p Appointed Ex Officio member of the Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities p Regularly testifies at the State Capitol regarding services for people with disabilities p Undertakes speaking engagements on a variety of disability related topics including service dogs p Working towards full accessibility in her worship community p Quote: “Everyone can be a leader!”

Outcomes of GVTC p p GVTC has produced “positive personal growth” and “clear progress” Outcomes of GVTC p p GVTC has produced “positive personal growth” and “clear progress” in participants 1 Promotes ethnic, gender, and geographical diversity in advocacy training 2 Essential to “positively influence public policies that enhance the quality of life for people with…disabilities and their families. ” 3 Produced community leaders with direct impact on legislative and other decision making bodies. 1 “Values in Action: Outcomes & Impact of GCDD Programs”, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University. April 2008. p. 45 2 Ibid. , 3 p 41 Ibid. , p 45

Conclusion p Creates Self-Advocacy n n n p Creates Leadership n n n p Conclusion p Creates Self-Advocacy n n n p Creates Leadership n n n p Enhances existing skills Builds confidence Cultivates self-direction Promotes perseverance Fosters mentorship Enhances public speaking skills Creates Community n n n Projects have direct social impact Strengthens disability community Encourages inclusion and diversity