Chapter Spotlight: Awesome Westside Advocates
Awesome Westside Advocates
By Karen Rose
In August of 2008 a small group of us met to sign an application for start-up funding from the Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities, administered through The Arc of Indiana. The name described our location and purpose. We had to earn the “awesome” part. The funding provided money for refreshments and supplies as we had meetings, booths, and parties to develop interest. As our activities grew, the members worked with a company to design T-shirts and we started scrapbooking pictures of our events. Through the years are group has done the following:
1) Made and delivered Valentines to State officials and our own state legislators during the SAI Day at the Statehouse in February
2) Set up booths for March Disability Awareness Month in local libraries, and for self-advocacy at the Westside Secondary Transition (WSTC) Fair
3) Provide a time for half-court basketball games and silent auction as a fundraiser
4) Pay for and attend the annual SAI Picnic in July
5) Celebrate our Anniversary with food, games, and cake in August
6) Prepare and enter a float in the Quaker Day Parade in Plainfield in September- we won awards for our entries four different times and pass out bunches of candy!
7) Pay for and attend The Arc Award luncheons; SAI, Arc, and GCPD conferences for members who can go. We once did a Power Point presentation for a SAI conference and the WSTC Fair
8) Plan a Christmas/Holiday party for members and friends in December
Service projects over the years have included collecting and delivering donations to the Ronald McDonald House, VA hospital, Soldier Care packages, Operation Christmas Child, Active Grace Homeless Mission, storm relief, and families in need.
Fundraisers have included a garage sale, numerous restaurant fundraisers and ones organized for us by the “JUST BE KIND” group of Plainfield.
We have had police officers, behavior therapists, and Sycamore Services CEO speak to our group. We have planted and tended a community garden, volunteered at Special Needs Easter Egg Hunts, and promoted Voter Registration.
Several of our members attend the Hendricks Co. Arc meetings. We have representatives on the WSTC and members on the SAI board of directors.
Parents and staff have been very supportive and provided transportation, donations, and volunteer labor to make our group successful. In December, 2019 we had a close election for new officers of AWA. We hope to continue to support the mission of SAI of awareness, education, and involvement among our members and our community.