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Arizona Community Leadership Academy

15 July 2017   David Siegler
New Horizons DisAbility Empowerment Center (NHDEC) is hosting the NEW Arizona Community Leadership Academy

It is time to have a VOICE! New Horizons DisAbility Empowerment Center (NHDEC) is hosting the NEW Community Leadership Academy (CLA)! People with DisaAbilities comprise the LARGEST Minority Group in the U.S. Yet, our perspective is missing from Local Boards and Councils. As Legislation is proposed, who is listening, who is protecting our Rights? We all should be, but perhaps we lacked the skills … until now. New Horizons seeks to train people with disabilities to have the skills to move into policy making and decision making positions around the State. We seek to assist any person, with any disability, to sit in positions of influence, effectively. According to Resources for Independence, less than one percent of leadership roles in government are held by people who have disabilities; despite the fact that over 50 million Americans identify as having a disability

Arizona’s Centers for Independent Living and the Arizona Statewide Independent Living Council, (AZSILC), are charged with developing the State Plan for Independent Living every three years. During the development of the current plan, we heard from many people across the state who said they do not feel connected to the disability community, they do not get information about policy and legislative issues that impact their ability to live independently in the community, and they do not know how to get involved and make changes.

In response, New Horizons DEC and the AZSILC are pleased to announce the Arizona Community Leadership Academy, (AZCLA). The AZCLA has been designed with the objective of strengthening advocacy skills among people with disabilities and increasing participation on boards, councils and commissions that impact the community in the public and private sectors. The Community Leadership Academy model was developed by Resources for Independence Central Valley, a Center for Independent Living in California. They developed the academy model with the goal of increasing the number of people with disabilities who fill leadership positions in local, state and federal government.

Arizona Community Leadership Academy (AZCLA) participants learn about disability and Independent Living history, systems advocacy, and the skills they need to serve as community leaders on boards, councils and commissions. They also receive mentoring and peer support from community leaders, including people who have disabilities. Academy participants meet each week, for six to eight weeks (depending on class setup) with training offered in Yavapai and Mohave Counties. The program is offered at no charge to participants. However, in order to receive their certificate, participants are expected to make a commitment to attend all class sessions. Transportation in Mohave County may be provided to participants at no charge!

New Horizons DisAbility Empowerment Center and the Arizona Community Leadership Academy have begun recruitment efforts with the first classes expected to begin in August. You can find more information and sign up to be contacted about future AZCLA trainings by visiting www.azsilc.org/azcla today. If you have questions, contact New Horizons DEC at 928-772-1266. www.NHDEC.org

New Horizons DisAbility Empowerment Center is a Non-Profit, Charitable 501©3 organization that assists Any person, with ANY disability to live the most independent, self-directed life possible. We have a myriad of programs from Jobs to basic life skills. We are a peer centered organization; the majority of Staff and the Board of Directors are people with disabilities. We just opened the DisAbility Empowerment Campus at 9400 E. Valley Road, in PV. This 9000 Square foot facility has a computer lab, sports center, veterans resource Center, and is home to a dozen small peer groups for people coping with many different disabilities. Many of our programs and activities are offered at no charge to the clients.

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