My Experience with The Arc Georgia.
I have Down syndrome and advocacy is a world I live in. I believe my voice has power and I have a story to tell. I believe that a lot of people need help to let their voices be heard. And I believe we need change and better services for people with disabilities. This is why I wanted to be the Policy Intern for The Arc Georgia, a group that advocates for disability rights.
Many of my experience were at the Capitol in Atlanta. We started on the House side, and we heard a lot of the bills they discussed. And then we worked our way to the Senate side and heard a different point of view. I also began Monday’s with Martha, a policy show about advocating for disability rights.
Monday’s with Martha is important because people learn that their voice has power. My guests on the show all focus on different areas of disabilities like inclusive post secondary education (IPSE), vocational rehabilitation (VR), independent living, and public policy. I would love to hear more from special education teachers, doctors, self-advocates, parents, and therapists. And to continue to grow as a show.
The person who inspired this is Liz Weintraub. She also has a show around advocacy, called Tuesdays with Liz, and is making a difference. And after I met with her I wanted to help make a difference too by helping others see public policy as a reality instead of a burden.
During my internship, I also went to Washington DC to the Disability Policy Seminar. This is a training on how to learn to speak to your Representatives and Senators on Capitol Hill. The Hill is where all the House and the Senate works. I presented with Alyssa Lee and Charlie Miller on building relationships with lawmakers in our districts. I went to the Hill and we had meetings talking about Medicaid, IPSE programs, and certain types of bills. It was awesome!
I have also been to two health advocates meetings and learned about health bills. In meetings they have to learn to work together so there can be different ideas shared. You have to learn a lot in meetings like that. I have loved doing this work and I want to continue to advocate.
Many thanks to Alyssa Lee, the students of IDEAL (Georgia State University’s IPSE program), Kurt Vogel, Charlie Miller, Dawn Alford, Parker Glick, Mark Crenshaw, and Liz Weintraub. Also, thanks to my parents for their amazing support and to Mrs Tigner for guiding me to independence on my way to interning at The Arc Georgia.
Thanks to everyone for your amazing support! I want to keep working with The Arc Georgia . This is where I belong. Let’s go Team Martha!!!!!!!!!!