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ECNV’s I Am Self-Advocacy Program – Winter Session 2023

The I Am Self-Advocacy Program will be taking a break for the holiday season and will return towards the end of January 2023 for its 2nd Winter Program Session. This time around, ECNV is not only able to offer the program to students referred by the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) in its whole catchment area consisting Fairfax County, Arlington County, Loudoun County, as well as the Cities of Fairfax, Alexandria, and Falls Church, but also to students working with the DARS Manassas Office covering Prince William County, the City of Manassas, and Manassas Park.

The I Am Self-Advocacy Program is a Pre-Employment Transition Service (Pre-ETS) focused on helping students with disabilities, ages 16-22, hone their skills in self-advocacy through a combination of one-on-one sessions with a peer mentor and group sessions with their peers. Each week, the students focus on a particular topic integral to self-advocacy, with each topic building upon the last. By the end of the program, the students will have put together their own self-advocacy portfolio to include things they learned regarding self-awareness, disability awareness, self-determination, disability rights and responsibilities, how to be assertive, and how to engage allies and be an ally to others.

The Winter Session will begin January 23rd and end March 24th. Currently, participants are meeting virtually for weekly individual sessions and weekly group sessions. Group sessions are on either Tuesdays or Wednesdays (4:15pm – 6:15pm) and provide an atmosphere where students can share their experiences with their peers and delve deeper into program topics. Students who complete the program leave with a greater understanding of accommodations, their rights, and how to advocate for themselves.

ECNV will continue to offer program sessions quarterly. Students interested in participating should talk to their special education teacher or Employment and Transition Representative (ETR) at their school for assistance. Alternatively, reach out to your local DARS office to get started. All referrals must come from DARS. The referral deadline for the Winter Session is January 6, 2023, so please request a referral as soon as possible!

For more information about the program, please contact the Program Coordinator, Hannah Roberts at hannahr@ecnv.org or call ECNV’s office number at 703-525-3268.