Self advocates speak with elected officials about policies and programs that support people with disabilities. They also educate staff about their needs and rights and participate on committees and boards to guide agency activities.
The YAI NYC Self Advocacy Association was established more than 20 years ago, with the help of YAI staff member Bobra Fyne. About eight years ago, the group developed the Self Advocates Newsletter and “In My Shoes,” a training program that taught YAI staff and others how to best support YAI’s Self Advocates. Self-advocacy groups throughout YAI advocate and voice their opinions to educate and reinforce the importance of respect and inclusion for people with I/DD.
Some other YAI self-advocacy projects have included:
- Joining the Special Olympics in the “Erase the ‘R’ Word” campaign.
- Partnering with the Self-Advocacy Association of New York State in the campaign to end the SSI Marriage Penalty.
- Working with The Moth, a non-profit based in New York City dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling, to develop YAI Moth stories that illustrate the inspirational self advocates’ life-changing experiences.