Logan County self advocacy specialist Ty Ferguson and Board of DD Community Coordinator Kelli Bader recently worked together to present the Second Annual Advocacy In-Service.
The event took place at the end of September at Edison Community College in Piqua and included advocates from Auglaize, Champaign, Darke, Logan, Miami, Preble and Shelby counties. Ferguson served as the official chairperson and Bader worked as her ally on the theme “My Story: A Journey into Self Advocacy.”
Bader says, “The whole day was designed to shine a light on individuals with developmental disabilities in our region who are living their lives the way they want to live and the families, employers and caregivers who help them achieve.”
The keynote speakers were Jessica Schiavone, the director of Art Sense, and her administrative assistant Mike Blakeley. Art Sense provides day services for individuals with developmental disabilities. Schiavone became the director and needed help running Art Sense but needed to find someone to help her manage the everyday details. She found that person in Mike, a man who happens to be a quadriplegic and is blind. She calls him her “right hand man” and explained the positive impact having him around has made on her, other employees and the work place overall. Mike talked about his life working there and his role in the company. He explained how he handles his duties and showed the group how his meticulous memory works.
Willie Jones and Pete Moore from the Ohio Association of County Boards presented on “The Good Life” method of creating positive places of employment and residency.
Finally, Nancy Richards from the Ohio Self Determination Association teamed up with Ferguson and RTC’s Lisa Davidson to explain the spiral method of problem solving through Project STIR (Steps Toward Individual Responsibility).
Memories of the day were captured through artistic design by Blaine O’Leary, an advocate representing Shelby County. The official photographer was Sam Plough, an advocate from Darke County. Miami County advocate, Carl Jenkins presented an ice breaker designed to motivate and give the advocates a positive feeling toward themselves and each other through positive self talk and encouragement. The day was captured on video by Darke County Board of DD employee, Eric Lee.
Scott Marks from the Ohio Association of County Boards served as the emcee for the day. He called upon participants to come up with an official name for the advocacy group before they reconvene for their monthly regional meeting later in October.
Submitted by the Logan County Board of DD.