Advocates WORCing for Life

Advocates WORCing for Life is a group of people from various Life’s WORC programs who regularly meet to address the rights, interest and concerns for people with developmental disabilities and the importance of speaking up for and representing themselves as self-advocates.

Group president Camille Tyson recently had the exciting opportunity to take part in the New York Institute for Self-Advocacy four-day “Youth Power” initiative, organized by  the NYS Developmental Disabilities Council.  Ms. Tyson challenged herself to learn new ways to be a self advocate, as well as how to advocate for her peers in the community, and to advocate in regard to systems and policies that affect people with disabilies.

One of the primary focus areas of the conference was employment. One of the presenters was John Robinson, CEO of Our Ability Inc., “the only disability owned and operated business dedicated to building employment opportunities through its job platforms, employment webinars, as well as professional digital resume system for people with disabilities, specifically created to connect employers with the disability business community.” Statistics show that 17.5 percent of people with developmental disabilities have jobs, while 65 percent of people without disabilities hold gainful employment.

Another focus area was that of Disability Rights history, which acknowledged how far we have come and how far we need to go to have equal rights and opportunities. Groups like ADAPT, a national  grass roots community that organizes disability rights activists to engage in non-violent direct action  including civil disobedience to assure the civil and human rights of persons with disabilities, who have fought hard and continue to fight for freedoms.

Additionally, Ms. Tyson and the other participants learned various ways to engage in Social Marketing  to coalition build, get your cause heard, recruit members, and create marketing material.  A humorous take on the use of the term “special needs”was created in recognition of World Down Syndrome day #NotSpecialNeeds,  hitting home the point that what people who have Down Syndrome (or any disability) want is  really what all people want: education, jobs, opportunities, friends and love.

After graduation from this special program, Ms. Tyson will continue on to become a part of the Emerging leaders Network, taking what she has learned to help others across the State become fellow Self Advocates.

Congratulations Camille Tyson on your accomplishments! We commend you for your dedication and support of self advocacy.