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N&N: Project STIR: Region 6 comes together to learn self-advocacy

project stirMonarch staff and people supported from the Outer Banks vocational programs and the apartments in Elizabeth City recently joined other community groups to participate in an exciting two-day training workshop called Project STIR.  

The acronym stands for Steps Toward Independence and Responsibility and is an initiative of UNC-Chapel Hill’s Institute for Developmental Disabilities.  The course offers trainings and assistance related to self-advocacy and includes hands-on activities, small group discussion and videos.

Both staff and people supported at Monarch from Pasquotank, Tyrrell and Dare counties attended the training. Erma Brault, a site supervisor in New Bern, participated in the trainings and said that it was “a wonderful opportunity for all to learn from each other.”

She also said the training was important because it allowed staff and people supported to understand how to “give people living with disabilities a greater voice in their own lives and communities.

Much of the training focused on role play, setting goals and allowing each person to make a plan for tasks they hope to accomplish in the future.

Cleophus Carver, a person supported in Elizabeth City, attended the workshop and said one of the goals he set for himself was to enhance his public speaking abilities. He learned tips and tricks for public speaking and said that he wants to eventually speak at “churches and schools to make the community a better place to live.”

Another participant, Kermit Mullen, also made it a goal to work on his public speaking. He said he learned the importance of speaking out about issues that are important and one of his dreams is to be a spokesperson for others who need a voice. Mullen is also part of the local Toastmasters chapter, an international organization that fosters communication, public speaking and leadership development.

English Albertson, regional director for Region 6, said another important part of the training, besides setting goals, was that it allowed participants to get to know each other and hear their stories.

“This program helps people have a voice and to speak out and accomplish things they wouldn’t have. It was about the whole disability community coming together and making a goal for how to make things better for them,” Albertson said.

Photo Caption: Self-Advocates after completing their Project STIR Training

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