“I did not even know what self-advocacy was until I started at Merrick two years ago. Since then I have become a leader in my own right. I participated in the eight month Partners in Policymaking leadership course, was involved in the Institutions to Independence TPT documentary, and served on the Advocating for Change (ACT) Board. I was told early on in life that I could not do many things. Since being at Merrick, I have learned to DREAM BIG and that my dreams can come true.”—-Mary Raasch.
If you are speaking up for yourself – you ARE a self-advocate.
Shooting Stars Newsletter-Miracle-Issue #1 [Spring 2012]
Shooting Stars Newsletter-Miracle- Issue #2 [Summer 2012]
Merrick, Inc., is considered an industry leader in the State of Minnesota, in part, due to our commitment to self-advocacy. In 1997, six self-advocates started the initial Putting People 1st group hosted at Merrick. Today, there are five self-advocacy groups that meet weekly with 125 active members that refer to themselves as the “Shooting Stars – Merrick”. Annually, each group elects officers and staff advisors from Merrick provide an auxiliary role. For many years now, self-advocates have made countless presentations to schools, civic organizations, disability groups, conferences, and workshops. Self-advocates believe that self-advocacy is not just an activity or something that happens in a group, if you are speaking up for yourself – you ARE a self-advocate. It is a life-changing experience.
Merrick is well known for providing opportunities for self-advocates to soar to new heights and self-advocates have focused their efforts in the following four areas:
- Public Awareness
- Legislative Efforts
- Voter Rights
- Serving on boards, committees, workgroups
- 100 clients regularly participated in one of the five self-advocacy groups at Merrick.
- Self-advocates at Merrick conducted a food and toy drive and presented the donations to the Vadnais Heights Lions Club to distribute in the community.
- Self-advocates conducted ten presentations to other Day Training & Habilitation programs, disability groups, and presented about self-advocacy at seven conferences/workshops.
- The Ambassadors for Respect, funded by the MN Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities, conducted fun and interactive anti-bullying presentations for more than 489 fourth-grade students at six local elementary schools.
As a result of our efforts in this area, Merrick, Inc. has developed an extensive resource library on self-advocacy related materials and has produced four videotapes on different aspects of self-advocacy. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
To learn more about self-advocacy or the Shooting Stars group, please contact Colleen Timbers – Program Training & Resource Director at email@example.com