September Newsletter 2012


Southern California Disability Conference

 Disability Rights California Hosts its First Latino Conference in San Bernardino


The Southern California Latino Disability Conference was held in San Bernardino Valley College on June 23.  It was an exciting event for all of the Disability Rights California staff.  The day began with a welcome from Executive Director Catherine Blakemore followed by the plenary session. (Continued on page 11)




Bay Area Office

200 Hundred Asian American Students Attend the Asian American and Pacific Islander Education Summit on May 19

Yesenia Roman, Multicultural Affairs Advocate (MCA) for the Bay Area Regional Office, attended the 2012 Asian American and Pacific Islander Education on May 19.  The summit focused on how to prepare for college and succeed at higher education.


The event was hosted by the Alameda County Office of Education and held at the California State University East Bay Campus.  This annual event is specifically geared to sixth through twelfth grade students of Asian Pacific Islander descent.  Over 200 students attended and representatives from California State University and the University of California programs such as Chabot College, Hayward Chamber of Commerce, Center for Lao Studies and many more were present.  Community organizations also provided assistance, guidance and information to students interested in employment and education.


At the event, Yesenia provided information to students with disabilities and their families regarding Special Education, Transition Plans, Employment Rights, Higher Education and the Client Assistance Program.  Students and families were encouraged to learn about tools students with disabilities can obtain to assist them in achieving academic success.


Sacramento/Native American

Tribal Community Gathering in Sacramento Focuses on Disability Awareness



hyllis Preston, Native American Affairs Advocate, designed a gathering of individuals with disabilities, service providers and community tribal leaders.  Phyllis and Leilani Pfeifer, Multicultural Affairs Advocate Coordinator, partnered with California Indian Legal Services at the day-long training.  California Indian Legal Services (CILS) is a non-profit law firm devoted exclusively to Native American rights.  The Disability Awareness workshop provided an overview of the needs of Native Americans with disabilities, with emphasis on cultural aspects. 


On April 24, California Rural Indian Health Board Executive Director Jim Crouch provided a welcome and sponsorship of the complimentary conference room.  Participants were individuals from the following community agencies:  California Indian Manpower Consortium, Inc., CDE Department of Education, Buena Vista Rancheria, Sacramento County CSD, California Rural Indian Health, Northern Valley Catholic Social Services, Tribal Economic and Social Solutions Agency, Inc. and California Indian Legal services.  CILS provided a training about its services, and invited DRC to collaborate on some future workshops on education law.   This April gathering resulted in three special education intakes for Disability Rights California.


Fresno Satellite Office

Health Fair Serves Southeast Asian Families Three Years in a Row

The 3rd Annual Southeast Fresno Community Health fair held on April 28 was put together by the Hmong Cancer Coalition in Fresno.  The collaborative event was sponsored by Fresno Center for New Americans, CalViva Health, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  The Fresno Center for New Americans was incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 1991 to respond to the growing needs of Southeast Asians.  Their services include Hmong refugee jobs services, beginning English classes, health access education, research and advocacy, networking and partnering with civic leaders to build a more cohesive and healthier community.  Over 140 Southeast Asian families attended the fair.  Lisa Navarro, Multicultural Affairs Advocate, and Mazie Moua, Administrative Assistant, greeted participants as they approached Disability Rights California’s table.  This was the third year the event provided free health screening and information to the Southeast Asian community.  Disability Rights California staff provided information on social security overpayments, special education rights, Client Assistance Program and rights of people with disabilities.  


San Diego Office  

Transition to Adulthood

Twenty-five parents participated in the Individual Transition Plan (ITP) workshop held at the Alvord Unified School District in Riverside on June 19.  Beth Burt from Autism Society Inland Empire invited DRC staff to present at the workshop.  The Autism Society assists families and consumers in navigating the complicated and at times confusing, service system.  Some of the services provided by the agency are social programs, art, cooking and independent living skills.


San Diego Regional office staff Ivan Guillen, Client Assistance Program (CAP) Advocate, and Griselda Delgadillo, Multicultural Affairs Advocate, presented on the ITP, employment rights and services from the Department of Rehabilitation (DOR).  Ivan and Griselda discussed the roles and responsibilities of the school district and the department during a student’s transition plan.  Many participating parents were unaware of DOR services or the steps to obtain the services.


Parents inquired if a representative from the Department should be present at the ITP meeting to discuss future employment goals.   Other parents of youths working in sheltered workshops wanted to know if DOR could provide employment in the community.  DRC staff advised the families that their DOR representative can attend ITP meetings and they should contact the Department to request that their children participate in an integrated employment setting.  Many of the parents learned about their children’s right to employment services and were happy to receive this information from Disability Rights California.


Office of Clients’ Rights Advocacy

Self-Advocates Practice Voting in Preparation for Election


isability Rights California has found that interactive trainings are a great way to help people learn about their rights.  On April 19, the Office of Clients’ Rights Advocacy (OCRA) conducted an interactive self-advocacy training for consumers of North Bay Regional Center (NBRC) at the AIM HIGHER Day Program in Fairfield.  AIM HIGHER Adult Development Center serves adults with developmental disabilities and provides consumers access to curriculum-based activities in life skills, education, employment, and the community.


Yulahlia Hernandez and Annie Breuer led a presentation about the right to vote, discussing issues such as: who has the right to vote and how to get the support you need to vote.  After the voting presentation, Yulahlia and Annie assisted the consumers to participate in a mock voting activity.  OCRA borrowed voting booths and other materials from the Solano County Registrar of Voters office.  Participants from AIM HIGHER received ballots, used voting booths, and practiced voting by making choices about their favorite color.  Self-advocates were given an “I Voted” sticker, just as if they had voted in a real election.  OCRA also passed out voter registration cards and assisted some consumers in registering to vote.


Participants at the training thoroughly enjoyed learning about their rights and getting more comfortable with the process of voting.  One consumer noted that the outreach event “…helped me learn new information.”  Another participant stated, “I learned that if you need help, you can get it.”  The participants at the AIM HIGHER Day Program are ready to exercise their right to vote!     


Photo caption: William Angel poses for the camera after voting, wearing his “I Voted” sticker proudly.  Eva Neri and Sara Benito enjoyed the interactive training and liked getting more familiar with voting in an actual booth.


Office of Clients’ Rights Advocacy

Participants Play Bingo to Learn About Their Rights

Tim Poe, Clients’ Rights Advocate, and Jazmin Romero, Assistant Clients’ Rights Advocate from the Office of Clients’ Rights Advocacy (OCRA), serving Frank D. Lanterman Regional Center consumers, recently provided a consumers’ rights training at a Los Angeles area residential care facility.  Some 16 clients had a great time learning about their rights by playing OCRA’s Clients’ Rights Bingo game.  There were lots of questions from the individuals who attended about their rights, including their right to go to the movies, have visitors, wear their own clothing, etc.  As soon as the consumers filled their bingo cards, each called out, “Bingo!” and won an OCRA prize. The training was fun and informative for all.


Developmental Disability Peer/Self Advocacy

Advocates Learn to Speak Up for Themselves

Daniel Meadows, Developmental Disabilities Peer/Self Advocacy Coordinator, launched the first “I Can Speak for Myself” Training, presented at the San Diego People First Conference on May 5.  San Diego People First is a regional self-advocate group that formed as a chapter of People First of California.  The group hosts annual self-advocacy conferences, trainings and presentations, and conducts community service projects.


The conference attracted over 300 participants interested in self-advocacy.  The session, “I Can Speak for Myself,” was an opportunity for participants to learn how to be self advocates for their own rights.  The training discussed different communication styles that included passive, aggressive, and assertive, and how each of these styles affects others.  Daniel presented on how assertive communication is the most effective style and how using assertive communication to speak up at the Individual Program Plan meeting is beneficial.  The audience learned that being assertive and speaking up for themselves will help others listen better to their needs and wants. The individuals in the training were enthusiastic about this topic and participated in the discussion. Some individuals attending this training learned to speak up for themselves for the first time, so this training empowered participants to be self-advocates.


One audience member in particular stated that she was going to speak up this time at her IPP meetings.  The crowd cheered her on.


Los Angeles Office

DRC Proud of its First Latino Conference- Community Interested in Future Event

The conference provided at least 12 workshops, with an array of topics for participants to choose from, and 20 vendors from Molina, Inland Empire Health Plan, California MENTOR, Southern California Edison, Disability Rights Legal Center, and many more.  Approximately 125 Latino families attended the various workshops throughout the day.  Topics offered at the conference were advocacy skills, special education, benefits and mental health services.  One of the participants during the Advocacy Skills training stated that she was assisted by DRC staff on a special education issue, and she was very pleased with the outcome. 


Throughout the day, families had opportunities to visit vendors at the conference.  The event was a memorable accomplishment for many of the staff who worked diligently to coordinate and carry out the project. 


As a result of the successful program, the Los Angeles Regional office received calls throughout the following week about when the next event will take place.