Community Advocacy in Arizona

The Opportunity Tree believes that a combination of excellent programming, transition services for youth and advocacy is the key to empowering individuals with disabilities. You can become an advocate by exercising your own political power to make a difference for yourself, a loved one, a family member or the community at large.

Our History of Advocacy

 

When The Opportunity Tree was founded in 1962, it was a transition period for children with disabilities. Public school districts began to include children with developmental disabilities in classrooms, when that was never the norm before. The Opportunity Tree found that most of the schools were meeting the needs for children, however, there was a need for vocational and other programs for adults.

In an excerpt from his 1966 report to the board, our President wrote, “There has been a marked increase in requirements for vocational evaluation and training of adults. Our program emphasis must shift to helping people fit themselves for the employment they can fulfill, becoming useful citizens and taxpayers.”

How You Can Be an Advocate

 

  1. Connect with ABILITY360
  2. Register to vote
    • Register to vote or update your voter registration by visiting the Service Arizona website.
    • Need more motivation? Watch the video “Why Vote by the Arizona Center for Disability Law.
  3. Participate in state and local government
    • Find your state representatives and how to contact them.
    • Make sure to sign up for Arizona’s “Request to Speak” system to be able to comment on proposed legislation from home, or to check the status of a bill. You can also visit the legislature and make your voice heard!
    • Get inspired by watching a video of family members and service providers testify in front of the Arizona House Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Welfare in regards to funding issues facing our community.
  4. Learn about local issues
  5. Know the issues and your federal representatives
  6. Write an Op Ed or Letter to the Editor
    • Opinion Editorials and Letters to the Editor can be powerful tools of advocacy. Cultivating relationships with columnists is also a good strategy to prioritize your concerns in the media. Some popular local papers in the Phoenix Metro area include The Arizona Republic  and the Phoenix New Times.
  7. Know what resources are available

 

Have questions or want to learn more? Contact our Director of Programs Gina Griffiths at ggriffiths@theopportunitytree.com to learn about local political issues and how they affect our community of individuals with disabilities.

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