Member Accomplishments

What Inclusion Means to Me

by Travis Mills

Hello my name is Travis Mills. I am an Americorps VISTA and a member of the People First of Nevada Self-Advocacy Group.

I was in a special education class throughout my whole life – I was not able to be included into a regular class because of my learning disability. I was really upset because I was not able to be included into a regular class-room with my friends. When I got into High School at “Galena High School” I took 3 courses that did not have any kids with disabilities. They where Art class, Ceramics Class & Video Editing Class. It changed my whole life to be in an environment with all sorts of different people including people with disabilities and non-disabilities. Because I was around friends without disabilities it gave me the courage to go and work independently at places where people without disabilities work. Working in that environment made me feel really good about my self & I felt included with other people around me.

I applied at different jobs like the grocery business and the Wrecking Yard Business. There most of the people did not have a disability. I was included with my friends and I felt like I didn’t have a disability any more.

Today, I have a job where I get paid and I have my own house and my own car and my own life.

Envisioning the Future

By: Kenneth Taycher

When I first heard that I would be going to the A.D.D. (Administration on Developmental Disabilities) conference, I was nervous about what I would have to say or do. This was such a prestigious event that I did not want to mess it up. Advocating is the most crucial part of life! Speaking up for yourself and others to help improve the quality of life is important, but even more important is knowing how, when, and where the time is right to speak up. Any time is a good time to stand up and be counted for what you believe in, but in order to do that, you must be aware of important issues that are influencing your state. It was an honor to be at the A.D.D. summit in Los Angeles with such great minds. I felt privileged to have been chosen to go to this historic event. Contributing with such influential people was inspiring, amazing, and wonderful. To be effective, just be yourself, know what is important to you, and speak out.

Only a handful of important, influential people came from six states: Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Oregon, and Nevada. It was a gathering of great minds coming together to improve their states with their suggestions. We discussed how the A.D.D. can improve their policies and what the A.D.D. is. I was part of a dedicated group of people who protest for the rights of people with disabilities (like you and me). The conference was held in numerous meeting rooms in the hotel. We banded together, forming teams and alliances with other people at the conference. In the break-out rooms where we deliberated, there were people writing down our comments. I was voted to be the reporter for the group, which was exciting. I got to go on stage to present to the crowd on what we had talked about, and I gave the verdict by microphone. Wow! I also created a perfect slogan that matched the theme of the conference with our state of Nevada: “I say N – E –V, you say A-D-A!” I started chanting it, and then all of the attendees joined in enthusiastically. It was terrific and an amazing feeling to think that I had such a positive impact at the conference! I had a great time there. I was involved with something bigger than myself. I was speaking up for the people with disabilities in Nevada. At the meetings we learned valuable lessons about how far good collaboration can go, and we found that a lot of us have similar concerns for our state and had come together for one reason – to work hard together. Even though the conference only lasted two days, I felt like we really worked hard and collaborated well. While I was there, I met the original lady who started the very first chapter of People First. She was from Oregon.

It was a wonderful feeling to use our personal skills to help make new policies. After the conference was over, I felt proud that I had a hand in suggesting ideas to the A.D.D. so they can better help us. It was an empowering feeling to be one of the minds that helped to shape Nevada’s future.

It was a wonderful feeling to use our personal skills to help make new policies. After the conference was over, I felt proud that I had a hand in suggesting ideas to the A.D.D. so they can better help us. It was an empowering feeling to be one of the minds that helped to shape Nevada’s future.

DMV 

By: Danielle Childress

Margie, a People First member, had wanted to know if there was a current audio handbook she could use to study driving laws and techniques. I invited Tom Jacobs, Public Information Officer at the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles, to speak at a People First meeting. He said it wasn’t likely DMV staff would be available, but was willing to work on the audio handbook. The most recent audio version was outdated. When I first called him, he said to give him a week to find out if the changes could be made. Next week, I called him back. He said he could update it and put it on the Nevada DMV website for Nevadans to download, but it would be at least a month before it was ready. Tom was really nice to talk to and willing to make accommodations at the DMV for people with disabilities.

Fighting for my services

By: Brianna Hammon

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