You may have heard that, when Ed Roberts (the father of Independent Living) was asked to name the core services for Centers, he replied, “Advocacy, Advocacy, Advocacy”. While we know there are other core services, advocacy is the foundation. At both the individual and systems levels, advocacy is essential to our survival. People with disabilities continue to be devalued by our society. The most important skill we can learn is advocacy.

If you want to see a unique approach to teaching advocacy, you have to look at this material. How clever, engaging and effective to use games and improv to advocate. Check out this concept at

The Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities (RTC) at the University of Montana in Missoula is a partner with Independent Living Centers in providing curriculum. Many of you have used their Living Well with a Disability, Working Well with a Disability, and Self-Employment publications and materials. They have released their newest — a toolkit to teach advocacy skills. While it is targeted to emerging leaders and youth, all advocates will benefit from the solid information and the unique approach. As they say on their website, “An important part of advocacy, no matter if the goal is to help one person or many, is establishing a confident voice, developed and supported by a community of peer support. This workshop and accompanying toolkit materials give participants the opportunity to explore their voices, build confidence, and display their skills both verbally as well as in written form. The intent is to provide a safe space among peers and trusted facilitators to introduce the concept of both group and self-advocacy.”

The toolkit is available at

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Advocacy Skill Building Toolkit – Teaching Advocacy to Youth

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