Empower yourself, empower othersPublished 5:58pm Saturday, March 16, 2013
Twenty-six years ago The Arc successfully advocated for March to be declared National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month by President Ronald Reagan.
And, there is no doubt that we have made tremendous strides to promote and protect the rights of people with I/DD to live, learn, work and play as valued and contributing members of their communities, the real strength of our message comes straight from the individuals we serve.
No matter how effective our organization’s advocacy efforts may be, no one is as powerful an advocate for people with I/DD as a person with I/DD.
So, this year during Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, The Arc would like to empower all individuals with I/DD to appoint themselves as their own advocates. Becoming a self-advocate simply means protecting one’s own self-interests — demanding respect, reaching out for the services and supports needed to fully participate, and simply making others aware of what it means to be a person with I/DD. When you empower yourself in this way, you can then empower others to join in the cause with you.
All month, we’ll be working to raise awareness about the issues important to people with I/DD. As a self-advocate, you can help us “turn up the volume.” Take this opportunity to empower yourself and empower someone else with some of these simple suggestions:
• Jump in. Contact The Arc Mower County to volunteer or donate.
• Start a conversation. Ask everyone you meet “Did you know that March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month?”
• Spread the word. Educate yourself about issues important to the I/DD community then tell the world what you found out. Use March as a great excuse to post your thoughts about the I/DD movement on your Facebook page or Twitter account. Follow The Arc Mower County on Facebook and Twitter and express yourself. Or go “old-school” with a good, old-fashioned letter to the editor of your local newspaper explaining to your community why they should care about I/DD.
• The Arc’s 18th annual Rose Sale: This event continues through April 2. We are recruiting Rose Sale Captains. Contact The Arc at 507-433-8994 for details or visit www.arcmowercounty.org.
• Saturday, April 6, is the third annual Taste of Mower County at the Austin Holiday Inn. The event kicks off at 5:30 p.m. with food tastings of signature items from Mower County’s finest chefs and ends about 8:30 p.m. There will be a cash bar, wine tastings, prizes, live and silent auction and entertainment. Chefs will be judged on their food by guests in different categories: restaurant chefs and home chefs.
Tickets are available now: $25 for individuals, $40 for couples, $75 for a half table (four people) or $150 for a full table (eight people).
Sponsorship opportunities are also available: $1,000 for Top Chef, $750 for Iron Chef, $500 for Ace of Cakes and $250 for Galloping Gourmet.
Call 507-433-8994 or visit www.arcmowercounty.org to purchase tickets or for more information.
Jamey Helgeson is the Program Director at The Arc Mower County and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 507-433-8994, Extension 102. You can also visit our website (www.arcmowercounty.org) and follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/arcmc).