A banner with a yellow background. In the banner is a photo of Jeff, a White man in a green shirt. He is standing at a podium and speaking into a microphone. Next to his photo is the quote, "I want everyone to be involved in self-advocacy. I think the more people that know about it, the more help they will get. The self-advocacy movement is getting bigger and bigger. It will never get smaller!" Also on the banner is The Arc Minnesota's logo.

 

Jeff’s self-advocacy journey started in 1993. Jeff and his wife Diane went bowling and met a new friend. This new friend introduced Jeff to self-advocacy and took him to a self-advocacy meeting. He liked the meetings so much that he continued to go even after his friend stopped.

Through this self-advocacy meeting, Jeff met Tricia. She introduced him to The Arc Minnesota’s Self-Advocate Advisory Committee (SAAC). As Jeff got more involved with SAAC, his experience with The Arc grew. He attended conferences, participated in grant work, helped organize a parent panel, volunteered at the Arc in the Park, and even went to The Arc Gala! He says his experience with The Arc is “never boring, because of the people I spend time with.” Katie McDermott, advocate associate with The Arc Minnesota, says that Jeff is “a great volunteer who we can go to whenever we need help.”

Jeff hopes to continue doing self-advocacy work for as long as he can. He is proud to volunteer, meet new people, and get more people involved with the self-advocacy movement. “It is important for anyone with a disability to have a voice in the community,” Jeff believes. “It is important for self-advocacy to make sure the legislature passes laws that make sure systems are working for people in ways they need.” To Jeff, the self-advocacy movement is only getting bigger and the more people know about it, the more support they can get.

 

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