Participant Spotlights – Clark & Nana Shine as Ambassadors at Advocacy Event

Advocacy Speaks!

Clark and Nana with Executive Director of San Diego Regional Center, Mark klaus

The San Diego People First Conference gives an opportunity for adult self-advocates to learn, share, network and grow during the 2 day advocacy filled conference funded and supported by the San Diego Regional Center, Foundation on Developmental Disabilities and the State Council for Developmental Disabilities, among other sponsors.

This year GiGi’s Participant Nana and GiGi’s Ambassador Clark got to experience the 30th Annual event, sharing about GiGi’s to other attendees. The first call to action was the Street and Resource Fair, where Clark and Nana manned the GiGi’s vendor table, providing first hand experiences on the programs GiGi’s provides. Their professionalism shined through! This was especially exciting for Clark as he and Nana ran with minimal assistance from their Site Manager.

The Street and Resource Fair not only gave disability/different ability organizations the opportunity to do outreach but also offered self-advocate business owners the ability to share/sell their gifts with others as well as encourage others to find their own talents. Nana especially enjoyed the baked goods from Demra’s Delights and Ashley’s Sugar n’ Spice but made sure she resisted buying too much. Clark and Nana took turns to make sure they didn’t miss one opportunity to provide awareness of GiGi’s and learn about other organizations while networking.

After the Street and Resource Fair the pair mingled with peers during the banquet dinner and awards ceremony. Clark noted that the dessert (chocolate cheesecake) was his favorite in part because during a zoom session he participates in facilitated by the State Council for Developmental Disabilities (SCDD) https://scdd.ca.gov/sandiego/ – Health and Wellness, he was able to put his vote in for the cheesecake. Advocacy at work!

What better way to work off a full stomach than to get moving and dance it off. Clark and Nana were no strangers to showing their dance skills and proceeded to dance the night away with new friends and peers.

The second day of the conference gave way to advocacy sessions presented by self-advocates. Clark and Nana joined the Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) which talked about life choice and options. https://www.dds.ca.gov/initiatives/hcbs/

Moving right along, the next stop was a panel presentation “Adulting – Living Options and Knowing What Is Right For You”. Both Clark and Nana along with a few other peers shared their experiences regarding where they live and the supports they need in doing so. Sometimes self-advocates have a hard time understanding their rights and options when deciding where to live, this panel gave different perspectives from peers living them.

Adulting-Living Options and Knowing What Is Right For You

Overall, it was a great experience for Clark and Nana boosting their confidence in advocacy and ready to up their game presenting at next years conference!

GiGi’s Playhouse San Diego Represented at the
San Diego People First 30th Annual Conference!

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