My name is Jeff and there are many parts to my story.
I am a loving husband to my wife of 11 years. I enjoy spending time outside and taking nature walks. I am fun and like going out and singing karaoke with my friends.
However, one of the most important parts of my story is that I am a self-advocate.
My journey as a self-advocate started when my friend convinced me go to a Self-Advocacy Advisory Committee meeting at The Arc. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but thought I would give it a shot. After the first meeting, I knew I wanted to be part of this group. That was over a year ago, and I have been coming back ever since.
I enjoy being a member of the Self-Advocacy Advisory Committee because it has shown me how to be an active part of my community and what I can do to help people. We work on building leadership skills and learn about issues that are important to us. Recently, I was able to go to the State Capitol and talk with my representative about human services. The Committee helped me prepare for this meeting and I was proud that I could raise my voice and make a difference.
This year, I am excited to work with the Committee on more projects that I care about. We will be meeting with different policymakers to talk about removing barriers faced by people with disabilities and advocating at the Capitol for funding to support self-advocacy groups. We will also host self-advocacy training sessions so that more people with disabilities have the tools to advocate for themselves.
Self-advocacy means different things to different people. To me, self-advocacy means that I have a voice in the world and I can use it. I can be active in my community and speak up when something isn’t right.
As a self-advocate, I don’t sit on the sidelines anymore. I stand up for myself and others.