When Keshet’s GADOL program was instructed to close due to COVID-19, staff quickly shifted their programming to virtual groups. Within a week, they were up and running 4-5 hours a day of programs to engage and remain connected with team members. GADOL offers a daily morning hello, book club, club fit, cultural conversations, music and movement, numbers games, quarantine workouts, chair yoga, art class, karaoke, morning stretch, and daily lunch get-togethers with discussions about gratitude, friendship, family, favorite movies and more.
With the loss of in-person programming, we didn’t want our team members to also lose their voice so we joined forces with The Going Home Coalition and Blue Tower Solutions to customize a self-advocacy series for Keshet. The Going Home Coalition’s vision is for Illinois to be truly person-centered with responsive programs and systems that ensure people with disabilities have lives that are full and lived in the broader community. This program engages people with disabilities, families, policymakers and allies in educational opportunities, rallies, and advocacy demonstrations.
Keshet’s Self-Advocacy program is a five week series where team members will learn how to make their voice heard, how to speak to legislators about what’s important to them, participate in the statewide Going Home Advocacy Day and play an important role in developing a Keshet Self-Advocacy Group.
After just two weeks, we have already seen how powerful a voice can be. Team members are speaking up about wanting to take a more active role in our virtual programming. Some have already begun leading and co-leading virtual groups for their peers. At our last group, members got to meet Representative Bob Morgan (58th district) and learned about legislative advocacy. Later this month, the group will be participating in the Going Home Coalition's Annual Rally with other self-advocates throughout Illinois.
The purpose of Keshet’s Self-Advocacy Group is to elevate the voice of people with disabilities. Once the series concludes, we are excited to take the next steps and create a Self-Advocacy Group to represent the voice of Keshet’s team members.