A lot of the action and outcomes happen at the local group level.Regional groups were formed to help connect the local groups to share information and plan regional events (e.g., conferences, Community Living Awareness Month, IDDP). There was also a need to connect and share across regions as many issues are province-wide.
In 2002 the first provincial meeting included the Disability Action Hall, Leadership Today graduates, Calgary SCOPE Society and the VRRI. Many of the self-advocates lived all over the province. Together we decided we needed to have a conference. Other people heard about the meetings and wanted to be part of them. We created a network through regional meetings had over 70 attendees at each meeting.
Every Summit has included participants from People First and institution-based self-advocacy groups. Each has felt welcome, respected and heard.
Plans for a provincial group have been a long time in the making. In 2004 and 2006, Tia Nelis shared her insights into how SABE was created and resourced to become a functional national self-advocacy voice with representatives from diverse self-advocacy groups in every state.In 2009, Alberta self-advocates developed their idea of a provincial group based on Tia’s insights and their own.
10 Years of the AlbertaSelf-Advocacy Movement in the Making…1999-2009<br />Report from the Self-Advocacy Summit Group<br />
The self-advocacy movement<br />‘We need to build bonds or connections between us.’<br />-Self-advocate at Summit Planning Session in Calgary, February 7, 2002<br />
Just a few outcomes of self-advocacy in Alberta…<br /><ul><li>6,000 Calgarians living on a low income each month can afford to take the bus.
Citizens of Red Deer can cross a busy road safely.
People with low English literacy can read reports, rules and rights in plain language.
Thousands of dollars are raised each year for causes like breast cancer, disaster relief, food banks and Big Sisters & Brothers
Disability Culture is more than bowling; it is art, film making, story telling and pride parades.</li></li></ul><li>How did it happen? It’s a group thing!<br />
It started with People First<br />The first People First group in Alberta started in 1978 in Edmonton<br />People First is an international movement of people who have been labeled <br />People First groups are all over; Canada has a national group, provincial groups and local groups<br />Members have fun together, organize and interact in the community, discuss challenges and how to resolve them, work to close institutions, stand up for their rights and go for their dreams<br />Profile<br />Barb Oseemeemow<br />Barb was the President of People First in Bonneville and has sat on many boards<br />She sits on the Self-Advocacy Federation (SAF) Steering Committee in Edmonton where she is involved in films and presentations; Her art is on the SAF business cards<br />Barb is a writer, artist, singer and stand-up comic<br />She owns her own cleaning business and lives on her own<br />
Leadership Today opened eyes<br />Between 1998 and 2009 Leadership Today taught <br />~60 Leadership Training (LT) courses to more than 1000 people<br />~25 Train-the-Trainer courses to more than 200 LT graduates<br />~15 Inclusive Board workshops to community board members<br />~12 Supporting Self-Advocacy and 12 Partners in Advocacy workshops to support workers and supervisors<br />Piloted a new workshop on How Government Works<br />Self-Advocates co-taught all the workshops, Leadership Training and public presentations<br />Leadership Today made graduates think about their place in the world<br />Profile<br />Derrick Seabrook<br />Derrick is an active public speaker educating the community about his disability <br />He writes letters to government and is a great leader, networker, canvasser, mentor and role model, and member of the Self-Advocacy Federation<br />Derrick meets everyone as a parking attendant at his church<br />He has found work at Boston Pizza, Rocky Bar Ranch and doing Quality of Life surveys<br />
PDD Regions support self-advocacy<br />Central Alberta Advocacy Network<br />CAAN started in February 2002 for self-advocates across the region to share experiences and increase their skills and self-confidence<br />Members have grown into confident self-advocates, know rights and responsibilities, mentor the next generation by sharing experiences and helping others learn by having the freedom to make mistakes<br />Members put on workshops andannual retreats<br />Profile<br />BernadineHansen<br /><ul><li>Bernadine is the2009 CAAN Self-Advocate of the Year
She inspires peers by speaking about how to be all-star self-advocates by mastering self-confidence, communication and learning, and shares her successes and stories of overcoming challenges
Bernadine made the decision to move out by herself</li></li></ul><li>Groups take time to organize<br />South Region Self-Advocacy Network (SRSAN)<br />SRSAN began in 2001 and is a regional network of self-advocates and allies. SRSAN’s mission is “We teach people with disabilities to advocate on behalf of themselves and others. We are a united voice, which promotes equality, opportunities, and inclusion for us by educating the community about our dreams and what we can achieve.”<br />SRSAN has 96 paid members, 5 regional meetings per year, a yearly conference of self-advocates from all over the region, gives out the Clarence Marsh Memorial Award to a self-advocate and has a quarter newsletter called “The Ripple.”<br />In 2008, SRSAN held their first retreat and four committees were developed:<br />Membership Committee – increase membership, expand the website, build a membership directory<br />Developing Workshops Committee – develop a workshop for staff on the importance of self-advocacy and how to support it, which will be taught by self-advocates. <br />Teaching Community Committee – developed a PowerPoint presentation and an “I am a Citizen” DVD<br />Social Events Committee – Fundraising barbecues, community displays, Citizen Walk About<br />On June 5th, 2009, SRSAN held its first Walk and Roll for Self-Advocacy and a second awareness walk called “A Citizen Walk About” in June 2010. <br />
Groups lead to more groups<br />Regional self-advocacy groups support and spark interest in developing local self-advocacy groups. SRSAN inspired these South Region groups.<br />DYNAMI<br /><ul><li>Three individuals from the Taber Needs Society went to a SRSAN meeting and were inspired to form their own group
In April 2006, the first newsletter was put in with everyone’s pay
Dynami is Greek for strength; strength to help, to be heard, and to make a difference; Dynami members meet, volunteer and raise funds</li></ul>CORE Masters<br /><ul><li>CORE Masters members talk to government, speak out for and learn about rights and decision making
Self-advocacy has empowered members to find jobs, be more independent, eliminate harassment and increase safety</li></li></ul><li>Groups get the word out<br />Self-Advocacy Federation (SAF)<br />Since 2006 the SAF has created 4 videos: A Proud Moment in Time; Proud of Who We Are; See the Real Me; How to Talk<br />Members attend rallies and Pride Parades, host a SAF Summit, and present to service provider staff about self-advocacy and how to be an ideal staff person<br />The SAF sponsored a Masters Candidate’s action research in 2008-09, called Belonging: The Lived Experiences of People With Disabilities<br />SAF raises public awareness about the danger of institutional settings<br />Profile<br />Daisy Stacey<br /><ul><li>Daisy helps people solve problems and inspires people to take action
She sits on the SKILLS board, SPA group, and was on the Gateway board
Daisy is on the SAF Steering Committee, is involved in films and presentations and emcees events
She is a great networker, canvasser, listener, mentor, speaker & role model
She volunteers for events and the Edmonton Schizophrenia Society
Daisy supervises students at Tastes of Edmonton</li></li></ul><li>Groups make life better for others<br />Central Alberta Self Advocates (CASA)<br />Self-advocates from Red Deer and the surrounding area came together in 2002 to make a difference in their communities.<br />They sat on the board of Safe Communities Central Alberta.<br />They hosted several Community Living Awareness Celebrations having the Mayor proclaim the Month.<br />They put pedestrian safety posters in all elementary and middle schools in Red Deer.<br />They partner with the City of Red Deer to have ads on the city transit buses, bus benches and bus shelters.<br />They developed a Be Safe Be Seen project and gave away hundreds of reflective items and gave many presentations to help keep all the community safe.<br />They developed and continue to manage the CASA Plain Language Society.<br />
Groups make life better for others<br />Disability Action Hall <br />Hall members presented to the City of Calgary about the need for a low income transit pass<br />The Hall joined a community group to take action to help everyone who needed it<br />“It is a poverty issue, not just a disability issue”<br />Michener POWER Council<br /><ul><li>Members gave a petition to the Mayor at City Hall about a needed crosswalk.
Members orient newstaff and say how we want to be supported and what we expect from great staff.
POWER Council is included in decisions made at Michener Services.</li></ul>CARS Cougars for Self-Advocacy<br /><ul><li>Members report monthly to the City of Red Deer Community Advisory Committee on Inclusion and Accessibility around services, roadways and facilities </li></li></ul><li>Groups make it plain for everyone<br />Horizons Hurricanes<br />The group grew out of a PDD-funded project called ‘Broadening Your Horizons’<br />Self-Advocates took Leadership Today training and asked for more ways to practise their self-advocacy skills<br />They connect, network and teach others about self-advocacy, and teach staff the best ways to support self-advocates<br />They developed the My Life workbook in 2002-03 as a plain language CET standards tool <br /> CASA Plain Language Society<br /><ul><li>Self-advocates translate the agendas, minutes, board reports and business plans from PDD board and have worked with these organizations:
EPSS</li></li></ul><li>Groups promote disability pride<br />Profile<br />Being proud takes practice. <br />It is important to have safe places to be proud of our disability. <br />Self-advocacy group meetings are a safe place to be ourselves.<br />Marjorie Thompson<br /><ul><li>Marjorie is proud to be a skilled public speaker and speech writer
She was President of the Whitecourt Community Council for 2 years and won the 2001 Merit Award, Communicator of the Year
Marjorie sits on various boards, including a recent term as an Edmonton PDD Board intern
She took Leadership Today training and was a training facilitator there
Marjorie helped plan the first Self-Advocacy Summit in 2004
She has been involved in SAF films and city projects</li></li></ul><li>Self-advocacy empowers individuals<br />Ron Cofer<br />Sonya King<br />Sonya is involved in developing criteria for Disability Day awards in 2010<br />Sonya believes in recycling and is active collecting all over the community<br />She found her own job at the local paper and a flower shop<br />Sonya raised $1770 for the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Bowling tournament and had her picture in the local paper<br />Ron is co-chair of his Community Council and a board member of the public library<br />He promotes self-advocacy in the community and is an incredible fundraiser. <br />Ron is helping develop criteria for the 2010 Disability Day awards<br />Self-Advocacy helped Ron feel empowered to live on his own, so he found a townhouse<br />He found his own paid work at Subway and at a flower shop<br />
Groups thrive with support…<br />Northwest Advocates in Action<br />Northwest Advocates in Action helped Northwest PDD with Spring Celebration Night and took turns going to Board meetings<br />The group wrote a bill of rights and shared it on their website and at meetings<br />Pro-Stars<br /><ul><li>Pro-Stars entered the Canada Day Parade and chose “everyone belongs” as their theme
They started a Toastmasters club and made the words in plain language</li></ul>And often die without it.<br />
Groups can change the world if they…<br /><ul><li>Are well funded
Timeline of the Self-Advocacy Summit Group… 10 years in the making<br />Videos to inform local groups about the movement<br />Affordable Housing actions <br />3 Provincial committees to plan conferences<br />70 attendees at six regional meetings around the province<br />
Building the voice…<br />“You have worked for four years to make the dream of a Self-Advocacy Summit come true. Now it’s time to talk about the things that matter to you, learn from the examples set by others and come up with solutions that will make your community the best place to live.”<br />Gene Zwozdesky, Minister of Alberta Community Development, September 2004. <br />
Summits welcomed diverse voices<br />Roland Jensen (centre) with supporters Mickey Greiner of CSPD and Tony McMahon of Michener Services<br />Doug Edey from the NW and the late Patrick Worth from People 1st Canada at the 2004 Self-Advocacy Summit.<br />
A Provincial Self-Advocacy Group<br />U.S. self-advocate Tia Nelis from Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered was emcee for the 2004 and 2006 Self-Advocacy Summits. <br />Tia talked about how newsletters and forming a provincial group will help us be organized and build disability pride. <br />At the 2009 Summit, Leadership Today graduate and board member Melody Scout reported what participants said a provincial self-advocacy group should look like.<br />
The Future…Albertans Advocating for Change Together (AACT)<br />We are a united Alberta network that learns about issues and advocates passionately for positive change in society.<br />A recent study showed there are over fifty self-advocacy groups in Alberta. <br />We want our provincial network to reconnect with the local groups at regional conferences to build and share our plan and steps to improve quality of life for all Albertans<br />We would like financial support to help share the plan with local groups<br />We want to create a website and database to help decision makers connect to our network<br />Our vision is a better world in which everyone is accepted.<br />We respect the many voices and groups’ views and want to be able to meet in the same room to work towards our common provincial goals<br />