by Jennifer Alves, Receptionist and Self-Advocate at Paxton Campus
After a long recess, SPEAK-UP! is ready to regroup and strengthen the voices of young advocates. For the first meeting of 2016, 8 eager participants set up the ‘agenda’ and discussion rules on Tuesday, April 5th from 12pm to 1pm.
The ALLY Advocacy Center is home-base for SPEAK-UP! to meet on the first and third Tuesday of each month. Members suggest we also try to group at local cafés and coffee shops.
Everything discussed at SPEAK-UP! remains in the group. The privacy rule makes it comfortable for members to share personal experience and/or bring up a problem they need help with. The group will of course discuss and debate advocacy issues. Topics include: relationships, mobility and transportation, jobs and wages, exercise and recreational activity, independent living options, and state waiver programs.
Members look forward to speaking with groups at Paxton Campus and other venues. Most members took part in Disability Advocacy Day 2016, and enjoyed the experience of meeting with state delegates at VA’s General Assembly Building in Richmond. More recently, members spoke to a room full of local leaders at ALLY Advocacy.
The Golden Rule is expected to be obeyed at SPEAK-UP! Be courteous and considerate to your fellow members at all times; show respect of others feelings and opinions even when they do match your own. Please raise your hand to speak. Please do not chat with others when someone is talking to the group. A member does not need to talk if they do not want to.
Melissa Heifetz mentioned an advocacy project scheduled for September. The Loudoun Education Board will be invited to Paxton Campus to hear story’s from students with developmental challenges on what school is like or was like.