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- By Jim Petrone

March 28, 2016

The Leadership Series is a 10 month learning experience for Rhode Islanders who have a developmental disability, family members, friends and direct support staff. Each class covers topics related to Leadership and Self-Advocacy.


During the series, students are introduced to the tools they need to speak up for themselves and others. Class members are the on stage hosts for the annual Statewide Self-Advocacy Meeting at the Crowne Plaza, which was March 28, 2016. Everyone who completes the series graduates at a formal ceremony in June.

This year was my first time going to the state-wide meeting. The theme for the meeting this year was “Myth Busters”. The class discussed several widely heard statements/rumors such as “Everyone has to get a job” and “You can’t change your goals once they are in the ISP”.


We made up skits to illustrate these issues and talked about if they were true or not! I was nervous not knowing what would happen. We had practiced a lot and sometimes I felt like I was spending more time with the leadership class than I was at West Bay. It was big time work, but it also turned out to be a lot of fun!

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