On February 12, 2015, there was an important collaboration between SANYS’ New York City and Long Island Regions as they helped to start a new self-advocacy group for individuals supported by Leake & Watts, an agency located in Yonkers, New York.
Assistant Executive Director, Denise Walsh, had reached out to SANYS’ Long Island region for support to develop more opportunities for individuals to create and be part of groups in her area. The “2014 Statewide Self-Advocate of the Year” Jessica Campbell, knew the agency well as she actually grew up in one of their houses called Campbell House (named after former Executive Director, James Campbell)!
This new self-advocacy group represents a big victory for Jessica. Through the years, she moved from a 12 person IRA to a supported apartment and now she’s using individualized services and both natural and paid supports to live the life of her choosing! When she returned to speak to the advocates at Leake & Watts, she told her audience about her amazing journey and how they should know about their rights and responsibilities. Self-advocacy can transform lives!
Jessica has now partnered with the New York City Region of SANYS in helping to create this new self-advocacy group. At their first meeting, the self-advocate leaders from Leake & Watts were excited about speaking with their legislative representatives and advocating for employment and housing options! Dynamic speaker and bi-lingual grassroots presenter from SANYS in New York City, Uly Ramos, will be providing ongoing support to this dynamic group.
Way to go SANYS and Jessica Campbell! We congratulate you on continuing to support people and meet them where they live!! Your advocacy has truly come full circle!!