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
- Connect with ABILITY360
- Take a self advocacy training at ABILITY360 to learn best practices for helping people with disabilities learn to express themselves.
- Get involved in the ABILITY360 community of advocates by learning about the power of language and labels.
- Register for email updates from ABILITY360 to learn about public policy issues.
- Register to vote
- 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.
- Learn about local issues
- Register for weekly updates on bills related to developmental disability issues from the Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council.
- Read the Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) Title 36, Chapter 5.1 governing the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD). Then, read the rules that govern the DDD which clarify how the statues are implemented in more practical terms.
- Read about new state standards, legislator votes on key education bills or find out how to join a school board from the Arizona School Boards Association.
- Know the issues and your federal representatives
- Write an Op Ed or Letter to the Editor
- Know what resources are available
Have questions or want to learn more? Contact our Director of Programs Gina Griffiths at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about local political issues and how they affect our community of individuals with disabilities.