Teachers and student smiling in classroom.

DDI's 2019 Self-Advocacy Day: Nothing About Me Without Me

The group was fortunate to have the Self-Advocacy Association of NYS (SANYS) Board of Directors President, Coleen Mackin, serve as the keynote speaker. She delivered powerful messages of encouragement and inspiration to the participants. “Talk to people about what you want. Talk to people about what you need. Remember, you have choices. Believe in yourself; nobody knows what makes you happy better than you,” Mackin shared. “You have the power to make your own path. Accept yourself. Respect yourself. Love yourself. Be yourself.”


The day also offered constructive breakout sessions for the attendees, which included Character Building, Self-Advocacy Tips, and Art and Movement opportunities. These sessions provided individuals with not only helpful advice and interactive self-awareness discussions but also creative outlets to promote expression and relieve stress.

Catherine Ratuszny, DDI’s Adult Services social worker, organized this event and commented, “It was great to experience everyone raising their voices and speaking out on their strengths and unique qualities.”

Events such as this offer people with different abilities a collaborative forum to share their thoughts and discuss strategies to achieve their personal goals.

The DDI Self-Advocacy Group has more than 90 members from DDI’s Day and Vocational programs.  Its membership has grown steadily since the group started in 2003 and so has the scope of their projects and their accomplishments.

If you would like to learn more about the group, please contact Catherine Ratuszny at (631) 360-4629 or catherine.ratuszny@ddiny.org.


Nothing about me without me