On August 14, Minute Man Arc self-advocates Janice Smith, Valerie Lessa, and Nora McShane, along with staff member Yah-Bleelay Gaye, traveled to the Woburn Senior Center to meet with Congresswoman Katherine Clark’s Constituent Services Representative Jay Higgins. Mr. Higgins specializes in social security, medicaid, and medicare benefits (often referred to as “senior issues,” even though this group of benefits is important to the disability community, as well).
On May 24, CLASS, Inc. held a workshop on Advocacy and Storytelling. Organized by Ana de la Cruz, Manager of the Adult Family Care Program, the training was very well attended by caregivers and CLASS employees, including Alfred Frugoli, the new President and CEO of CLASS / The Arc of Greater Lawrence. Julie Heffernan, The Arc’s Advocacy Coordinator, gave a presentation which first outlined The Arc’s current legislative goals and then illustrated how families can use their loved ones’ stories as tools for advocacy. Ms. de la Cruz translated the presentation, to ensure that it was accessible to all those in attendance. Written by Julie Heffernan.
On Monday evening, April 30, The Cape Cod Network hosted a free Advocacy and Storytelling Training at The Cape Space Conference Center in Hyannis. After attendees enjoyed a dinner of sandwiches, chips, and dessert, Leo Sarkissian, Executive Director of The Arc of Massachusetts, gave a presentation on the state budget process and DDS. Julie Heffernan of The Arc’s Becker Center for Advocacy then spoke to families about how to use personal stories as tools for advocacy.
On Thursday, April 19, Maura Sullivan and Julie Heffernan presented an Advocacyand Storytelling Training at the Northeast Arc to its Joint Management Team (JAMM), made up of NEArc’s Executive Team, Senior Leadership Team, Leadership Team, plus the directors, supervisors and managers from all day, residential, family support, IT, maintenance, and finance and development programs.
As part of our ongoing Advocacy Alliance with chapters of The Arc, The Arc of Opportunity in Fitchburg hosted the first in a series of advocacy training sessions on budget and legislative initiatives.
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.
On December 4, The Arc’s Maura Sullivan, Director of Government Affairs, and Julie Heffernan, Advocacy Alliance Coordinator presented to parents and professionals at Northeast Arc in Danvers. Maura spoke about The Arc’s policy priorities and goals, and she walked the attendees through the bill and budget processes. Julie talked about storytelling and stressed the importance of using personal stories as testimony and tools for advocacy. Thank you to Northeast Arc, Family Support Director Louann Larson, and Family Resources Coordinator Melissa O’Neil for hosting this event!