The Arc Mid-South is excited to announce its very first Self-Advocacy support group. The group, entitled My Voice, My Choice held its first meeting on February 21st at The Arc Mid-South’s office, 3485 Poplar Avenue, Suite 210. The meeting was organized and facilitated by three of The Arc Mid-South's own staff members, Brittany Carter, Liesl Becker, and Leslie Jones, all people with disabilities.
The support group was established to enrich the lives of individuals with disabilities by providing an outlet to express their ideas and concerns, develop leadership and confidence skills, and to learn basic self-advocacy skills and disability rights history.
The attendees are individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and many are also students of The Arc Mid-South's L.E.T.S. (Life, Education, Training and Skills) class. After a brief introduction and statement of purpose, the group kicked off with an ice breaker as a means to get to know one another. The ice breaker, “Most Unique" allowed each person an opportunity for an introduction and to select one thing that they felt made them truly unique. Each student and staff learned some very interesting and exciting new things!
The group then played a short trivia game about self-advocacy and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The questions related to the basics of self-advocacy and disability history. The game provided a great segue for Liesl to discuss the 5 qualities that embody the ideal self-advocate.
After which, the meeting opened up for discussion of self-advocacy concerns and questions. A variety of interesting topics came up, including whether or not all disabilities are visible and what to do when individuals with disabilities are bullied or teased by others. A lively discussion took place about some very important topics.
To conclude our meeting, the group then discussed future topics and suggestions for future meetings. Possible topics include: personal stories, support, and even guest speakers. All in all, the meeting was a great success! Everyone expressed happiness and gratitude for the opportunity to express themselves and let their voices be heard. The Arc Mid-South is so proud of the attendees for taking steps towards becoming self-advocates! We are so pleased to be a part of the growing trend toward self-advocacy and empowerment.
If you consider yourself a self-advocate, striving to improve upon your advocacy skills, or would like to become a self-advocate, please come join us! We meet every month on the last Thursday of the month from 12:45 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. There is a one-time membership fee of $5.00. If you have any questions, please contact The Arc Mid-South at (901) 327.2473.
Meeting Schedule: All meetings are from 12.45 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
These meeting will be held at The Arc Mid-South, 3485 Poplar Ave., Memphis, TN 38111.