What We Do: People First is a Self-Advocacy organization run by and for people with developmental differences. There are currently active chapters in Reno / Sparks, Las Vegas, Fernley, Fallon, Elko, Carson City and Winnemucca as well as a statewide board. Chapters meet monthly to learn about self-advocacy, self-determination, our rights and responsibilities, skills to increase our independence and to take action on local and statewide issues. Members are involved in local issues in their communities and offer testimony and legislative advocacy to create positive systemic changes for people with disabilities in Nevada.
Our History: People First is the world’s oldest and best known self-advocacy organization that is run by and for people with developmental disabilities. People First began in Oregon in 1974 and has since spread to many US states and other countries. Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE) is the parent organization for People First. SABE is a national organization made up of board members and delegates from eight regions throughout the United States. SABE sponsors national conferences where grassroots members from all 50 states and Canada come together to learn and encourage one another on self-advocacy and self-determination.
The self-advocacy movement in Nevada began when a group of people with developmental disabilities decided to meet together to discuss self-advocacy and self-determination. There were many challenges to getting a statewide group together including the rural nature of Nevada and not having funds to pay self advocates to work on the project. Self-advocates joined forces with the Nevada Center for Excellence in Disabilities (NCED) in 2003. The NCED wrote a grant to the Corporation for National & Community Service to fund five self-advocates to serve as VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) members to organize local People First chapters around the state and to help create a statewide People First organization with chapters throughout the state. Through these efforts, People First of Nevada officially started in May, 2003.
People First of Nevada received its 501(c)3 designation in 2005. There are currently active chapters in Reno / Sparks, Las Vegas, Fernley, Fallon, Elko, Carson City, and Winnemucca as well as a statewide board. Members are involved in local issues in their communities and offer testimony and legislative advocacy to create positive systemic changes for people with disabilities in Nevada.
People First of Nevada partners with the Nevada Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities.
- Live lives based on the principles of self-determination: Freedom, Authority, Support, Responsibility and Confirmation.
- Have adequate transportation, especially in rural areas.
- Have affordable, accessible housing in the community with supports needed to live independently.
- Have competitive employment opportunities in the community with adequate supports to be successful.
- Have inclusive education for people with disabilities of all ages, including college and vocational education.
- Have the same legal rights as people without disabilities.
- Be free from the fear of Medicaid & Social Security cuts and have sufficient budgets that support each individual’s needs.
- Be allowed to accumulate wealth and plan for retirement without fear of losing benefits.
- Have recreational opportunities in the community.
- Build civic/social capital