September 30th marked the end of State Council on Developmental Disabilities’ Cycle 36 Grants. In 2014, GET SAFE worked with Area Board 12 (serving Inyo, Mono, Riverside and San Bernardino counties) and Area Board 13 (serving San Diego and Imperial Counties) to educate persons with developmental disabilities and community service members on two very important topics: self-advocacy and community awareness about developmental disabilities.
Area Board 12
The goal of this project was to engage persons with developmental disabilities and and educate them about self-advocacy and how to start a consumer-led group in their areas. This summer, GET SAFE hosted four main training events in Blythe, Bishop, Ontario and Norco. These fun events were held at entertaining venues, such as the city pool, Dave & Buster’s, and a bowling alley, and served as an opportunity for persons with developmental disabilities and their families to network with peers and learn about self-advocacy, how to speak up for themselves and their wants/needs, and how to start a group if they were interested in furthering their advocacy efforts on a larger scale. Throughout the rest of the year, GET SAFE followed up with each of the four groups to answer questions and offer advice.
GET SAFE is pleased to bring the current project to completion and looks forward to future collaborations with Area Board 12. We would like to extend our appreciation for the continued efforts of Area Board 12 executive director Vicki Smith and her staff to bring self-advocacy education to their catchment area. GET SAFE believes that the information was well received and made a lasting impact on persons with developmental disabilities who attended the main training events, who will hopefully continue to be self-advocates in their lives and strive to pass on this information to their peers and local community.
Area Board 13
The goal of this project was to provide six first responder training sessions for community service employees/providers so they can more effectively recognize and assist persons with developmental disabilities. GET SAFE traveled to the following locations to educate their employees and staff to dispel misconceptions about persons with disabilities and teach them how to better understand and respond to communication barriers and behaviors that often effect how a person with developmental disabilities engages in their services:
- San Diego Zoo
- San Diego Safari Park
- San Diego Natural History Museum
- San Diego History Center
- Imperial Valley Transit headquarters
The feedback from training evaluations was 100% positive, and GET SAFE believes the trainings have made a lasting impact on participants, as many indicated they would be more aware and use the tools provided to make guests with developmental disabilities’ visits and interactions safer and more enjoyable. We would like to extend our sincere appreciation for the continued efforts of Area Board 13 executive director Mary Ellen Stives and her staff to educate the community about persons with developmental disabilities to create safer, more inclusive communities.