On July 15, four individuals graduated from Project STIR, a 16-week self-advocacy program conducted at STAR, Inc.
The 2015 graduates of Project STIR are: Neil Herles, Robert McGlone, Tammy Mitchell, and Daniel Whitaker.
Project STIR, or Steps Toward Independence and Responsibility, is taught by trainers with developmental disabilities for individuals with developmental disabilities about self-advocacy. It is a program of the Ohio Self Determination Association, and covers such topics as assertive communication, problem solving and negotiation, rights and responsibilities, and how to start a self-advocacy group. The program is aimed at providing the tools to individuals so they can make known their concerns about issues in their communities. Sherri Daniel is the coordinator and serves as the trainer. The program has been offered at STAR, Inc., for five years.
The course has tremendously affected those who have taken part. Graduate Robert McGlone spoke at the ceremony about how encouraged he was by Project STIR and advised others to “never give up on your hopes and dreams.”
People First of Scioto County Representative Bill Adams said it is people such as the graduates of Project STIR who fight for accessibility of public buildings and who advocated for the statewide removal of the downgrading slur the “R” word from the very title of the agencies that organize services for people with developmental disabilities. He said it was an 11-year struggle, but it was self-advocacy tools provided by programs such as Project STIR, that made the change possible.
“Even though this class is over … your life of advocacy is just starting out,” Adams told the graduates and assembled family and friends.
The graduates and their families enjoyed a lunchtime ceremony at Gatti’s, the cost of which was donated by Larry Livingston.
People First of Scioto County meets at 1 p.m. every second Wednesday in the multipurpose room at STAR, Inc.