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On Friday February 9, DRC staff members Scott Barron and Adam Borovkoff gave a presentation and training based on the poster they created on stigma and discrimination reduction. The 8 foot by 4 foot colorful poster is based on the board game, Monopoly. Players can move around the board and “experience” various forms of stigma and discrimination, with solutions and remedies suggested. The poster took on a life of its own and its popularity quickly spread up and down the state of California to advocates, consumers and professionals of all types.
The California Office of Patients’ Rights (COPR) invited Scott and Adam to come to the Annual Patients’ Rights Advocacy Training for 2013 (PRAT) conference held in Sacramento. The participants who attended the training spoke about the poster and its use as a tool for reducing stigma and discrimination within the mental health community.
Scott and Adam discussed the original design and purpose and also went through individual spaces explaining their use in helping facilitate discussion on how to use the poster as a learning tool.
The audience participated by sharing personal stories about stigma and discrimination and displayed general excitement over the poster and its potential future uses. The audience bonded through the lively discussion and became allies in the warm, supportive environment. As the training progressed, more and more people filtered in and actively participated in the group’s open discussion.
Tribal organizations Conkow Maidu of Mooretown Rancheria, Tyme Maidu of Berry Creek Rancheria, Mechoopda Maidu of Chico Rancheria, Feather River Tribal Health, Northern Valley Tribal Health and Northern Valley Catholic Social Services partnered with Disability Rights California (DRC) to host “Special Education and Educationally Related Mental Health Services” on February 26 in Butte County.
Families, students and community partners were invited to attend the all-day training and clinic. Topics of the day were: Special Education, Educationally Related Mental Health Services, Transitional Planning, and services from the Department of Rehabilitation. Presenters and facilitators were DRC staff: Jackie Coleman, Phyllis Preston-Fowler, Leilani Pfeifer, Mazie Moua, and guest presenter Nic Mazanec from California Indian Legal Services.
The training was attended by 67 participants, and three individuals were given individual assistance during the clinic. Comments shared by participants included: “This was a needed training. I would like to learn more about educationally related mental health services.” Another expressed, “It gave me some insight to many different subjects presented.” Future trainings were requested from the various providers in attendance.
One Justice, an organization that provides support to non-profit law firms that focus on removing barriers to justice, teamed up with Disability Rights California (DRC) staff to conduct a one-day clinic on Special Education in Sutter County on April 6.
Drop-ins were welcomed at the Yuba City Library conference room to access free services. First and second year UC Davis law students joined One Justice and DRC staff to conduct intakes. The students worked in teams and were assigned to the parents who came to the clinic. Law students consulted with our DRC attorney and advocates throughout the day. Following are a few comments by the parents who were assisted during the clinic: “This has helped me feel more confident in myself to assist my child’s education, and to make sure they receive the appropriate settings to achieve.” “All I have ever wanted was the best for my child and I don’t understand why it is so hard to get the school to help. The three law clerks that assisted me were very good with suggestions and were understanding. I thank all of you for your help.” “One Justice was able to give help so there is nothing lost in translation.”
The event held on March 23, 2013 at John O’Connell High School in San Francisco brought youth and their families an opportunity to receive information from the agencies and attend workshops.
Disability Rights California (DRC), Support for Families, Department of Rehabilitation, California Telephone Access Program, Golden Gate Regional Center, and other agencies were present at the event. DRC provided information on the CAP program, transition plans, special education, benefits, Regional Center services, and the important role they play in the lives of youth with disabilities.
Denise Hunter, Client Assistance Program (CAP) Advocate presented a workshop for the families on CAP and the service Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) can provide for transition age youth. Suge Lee, Disability Rights California Staff Attorney presented a workshop on “Advocating for a Bully-Free World” which was a very popular workshop at the conference. She shared with parents the definition of bullying, the effects it has on children with disabilities, and what their rights are along with ways that parents can advocate for their child. The attendees were very pleased with the information and were interested in hearing more about Disability Rights California and the services we provide.
The Brain Injury Association of California (BIACAL) hosted several community events to raise money, awareness, and to support those who are affected by brain Injury. BIACAL provides education, prevention and advocacy services.
Well over 100 participants attended the main event that started with a walk and who were offered resources throughout the day.
The DRC Fresno office took part in this festive event on March 2, 2013 at Woodward Park. They distributed brochures and talked with individuals who came to the event. The nearly 50 individuals who stopped by our booth wanted more information on how to apply for benefits, how to request accommodations for employment and in higher education and about services from the Department of Rehabilitation.
Griselda Delgadillo from DRC presented on employment rights under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) on March 16, to 23 consumers from the Hearing Loss Association of America. The Hearing Loss Association of American reaches out to individuals with hearing loss through its network of more than 200 local chapters. The chapters offer emotional support, tips, and techniques for living with hearing loss.
After the presentation, a woman stood up and explained she had been working for several years in an agency. She relayed that her new manager seemed to be unaware of the ADA and did not seem to understand what accommodation means. The woman stated that she felt “ bullied by her manager.” The woman was very upset and frustrated because she did not know she had rights. She thanked DRC for the information she received since she had been discouraged by others to advocate for herself and was afraid that she would lose her job.
DRC staff members Mary Rios and Ivan Guillen participated on April 25 in the resource fair hosted by the City of Fontana in partnership with Water of Life Community Church. Water of Life Community Church is a faith-based program that offers Fontana residents no-cost or low cost community services through the Community Assistance Program and refers participants in need of assistance to various organizations and service providers.
The resource fair brought together over 140 vendors to provide information and resources to the 200 consumers that attended. The event provided DRC an opportunity to network with various organizations. There were representatives present were from Molina Health Care, Inland Empire Health Plan, San Bernardino Probation Department, and Team Advocates for Special Kids. Some of the services these agencies provide are counseling, day care, educational programs, family services, food distribution, health and legal services.
Katy Lusson and Aruti Patel from the Office of Clients’ Rights Advocacy (OCRA) who advocate for consumers of the Golden Gate Regional Center (GGRC) were invited to participate at two outreach events on March 23, 2013. Aruti attended the Marin Autism Fair held at Dominican College. On the same day, Katy went to San Francisco to attend the Support for Families event, where an information table was held in the morning and a training on “Hands Off My Money” was given in the afternoon. The training promoted awareness on financial abuse and empowered consumers to make decisions about their finances. Well over 20 consumers, family members and professionals attended the training.
Both events were well attended allowing OCRA staff to speak with many parents and professionals who work with GGRC consumers. Both Aruti and Katy completed several new intakes with GGRC consumers and their families.