Supporting Grassroots Self Advocacy
CDD shares the belief of disability rights advocates that people with disabilities themselves must take responsibility for reaching their goal of full community inclusion and meaningful community participation. Landmark legislation like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and policy changes which have created real choices of where to live and work are very good things. Much of the UCEDD’s work relates to bringing about these policy changes and equipping persons with disabilities with the tools they need to benefit from opportunities these changes create.
But CDD is always trying to find ways to help build the capacity of both individual self-advocates, and grassroots groups like Peer Action Disability Support (P.A.D.S.) in Linn County. P.A.D.S. is run by and for people with disabilities, and its mission is to improve people’s lives through peer support and community advocacy. Despite having very little money, P.A.D.S. has a track record of remarkable achievements in such areas as ADA awareness (with the biggest, annual volunteer-run ADA Celebration in the state), improved accessibility in public facilities, and better public transportation. CDD has a strong relationship with P.A.D.S. based on years of mutual support and information-sharing.
The P.A.D.S record of achievement contributed to its success in securing a grant from the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities for calendar year 2013, to provide technical assistance to a small number of other self-advocacy groups in Iowa. CDD and its sister agencies, the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council and Disability Rights Iowa, assisted with the application. The work plan includes:
- A self-advocacy “summit” in the summer
- Development of an advocacy tool kit
- Three webinars on topics to be chosen by the organizations being mentored
- Potential mini grants to support small community projects
CDD will provide technical assistance and staff support to P.A.D.S. For more information contact Michael Hoenig at email@example.com.