Two individuals served by ADEC have been elected to serve on the Board of Directors for Self Advocates of Indiana.

Nathan Griffey and Ryan Tingstrom will represent Region 2 on the Board of Directors.

Self Advocates of Indiana is a group of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who speak out, advocate and educate for equal rights, respect and inclusion for all in the community.

Individuals served by ADEC have formed their own chapter of Self Advocates of Indiana, which they have named Power for Independence. PFI meets several times each month at various ADEC locations so members can discuss advocacy efforts, volunteering opportunities and network with other self-advocates.

Becky Curtis, PFI chapter leader and ADEC’s activity coordinator, said serving on the state board is a great opportunity for self-advocates.

“It gives them a sense of responsibility and self-worth,” she said. “At their meetings they’re engaged, they’re giving ideas, they’re voting and deciding on issues being brought to them. They learn teamwork and organization.”

Nathan has been served by ADEC since 2006. Through ADEC, he has found support to work a job in the community, live independently and learn new vocations at Day Service at Middlebury.

“Nathan is one who just keeps going and doesn’t let his personal life and disability get in the way,” Service Coordinator Margaret Cook said of Nathan. “He is constantly helping his peers at Day Service, whether it is a peer needing help to carry their coffee, opening a door or playing a card game, Nathan is the one to jump up and offer assistance. To us, he is the energizer bunny and is one to always have a smile on his face.”

Ryan also started receiving ADEC services in 2006. He spends part of the week at ADEC Industries and also works at Elkhart Indian Motorcycle.

“He is not only valuable, but counted upon to go the extra mile,” Employment Consultant Brandi Brockwell said of Ryan. “Ryan is also very caring and notices when someone is having a bad day and does what he can to make them smile.”

Congratulations, Nathan and Ryan!

Happy Birthday, SAI!

Self Advocates of Indiana is turning 30 in 2020.

January 2020 will mark 30 years since Darcus Nims kicked helpers out of a meeting to discuss important topics alone with self-advocates. The self-advocates identified topics that were important to them: jobs, family, relationships and independence. They went back to their communities and began meeting regularly.

Today, SAI boasts 47 groups throughout the state! Over the last 30 years, self-advocates throughout Indiana have championed important issues such as deinstitutionalization, employment, transportation, affordable housing, and supported-decision making. Many self-advocates sit on Boards and work groups where they advocate on behalf of themselves and their peers for inclusion, rights and opportunities.

Source: Self Advocates of Indiana November Newsletter