Advocacy Alliance Coordinator Julie Heffernan attended the January 10th meeting of “Our Club,” the South Norfolk Arc’s self-advocacy group. The group meets from 6:30 to 8:00 PM every Wednesday and, in the words of one of the members, it is a chance “to get together with great friends and have a social event.” The group members, who range in age from 24 to 63 years old, talk about issues that concern them and discuss ways that they can advocate for change.
Among the concerns mentioned at this meeting were frustrations about medical care (difficulty getting a prescription filled, dismissive treatment in an emergency room, the complexity of the MassHealth application process); lack of access to transportation in the suburbs, especially at night and on the weekends, which causes problems getting to work and medical appointments on time and limits the ability to get to and participate in social opportunities; worry about aging family members and, therefore, about the future; anxiety about safety, from crossing the street at busy intersections to abuse; bullying; and the scarcity of programs that match adults with I/DD, including autism, with life and business mentors.
Our Club holds fundraising events, such as a monthly Hip Hop Café, Polar Plunge, and an annual event at The Chateau Restaurant. They hope to raise enough money to send some members to The Arc National Conference in Nashville in November.
Written by Julie Heffernan
Advocacy Alliance Coordinator