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Good afternoon Commissioner,

My name is Shameka Andrews.  I am giving this testimony today on behalf of the board of Directors of SANYS but also as a member of your Advisory Council.

Self-Advocates, including AmeriCorps members like me, were thrilled to see mention of community service within the Future Directions Chapter of OMRDD’s Five
Year Plan.

As you know, SANYS operates an AmeriCoprs project called Our Experience is the Best Teacher.  Our members, all of whom have disabilities, give presentations on topics related to community participation and inclusion in schools, agencies that support people with disabilities and community organizations.  At SANYS we see community service as all citizens’ responsibility and we want to make sure people with developmentally and other disabilities have the same opportunities to contribute that any everyone else has.

SANYS supports the concept of “included volunteering” as a way of supporting people with disabilities who need support to engage in community service activities.  Included volunteering means a person is provided one on one supports and/or coaching to be a volunteer in a community agency or organization.  This is very different than the volunteer enclaves we see in our communities now where four or five people are supported to be volunteers.

We look forward to pursuing this concept in the coming years. People with disabilities have a lot to contribute to their communities.

Comments on OMRDD’s Five-Year
Comprehensive 507 Plan: 2008 – 2013

Some thoughts on the value of Community Service

September 8, 2008


 
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