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People On The Go 25th Anniversary Conference Draws Record Crowd
More than 120 self-advocates and disability professionals attended People On The Go of Maryland's (POG) "The Future is Looking Brighter" conference on September 20, 2014. The bi-annual conference draws individuals from around the state together to share best practices and progress in developmental disabilities supports, programs, and policy.
Cristy Marchand, executive director at The Arc Maryland, delivered the keynote address, outlining POG's major achievements over the past 25 years and emphasizing the work to come in advocating for the civil rights for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Self-advocates from the founding of POG 25 years ago shared individual experiences, recounting life during the early days of de-institutionalization, inspiring younger advocates to appreciate the value of self-advocacy.
In his lunch address, Maryland's Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) deputy secretary, Bernie Simons, spoke about the merging of two Medicaid waivers into one, noting that the goal is to ensure easier access to these services. He also outlined his intent to employ a self-advocate with a disability on-site at each DDA regional office throughout the state. POG member Edward Willard will supervise self-advocates employed by DDA.
Breakout sessions on the importance of voting, understanding waivers, and housing were popular topics among self-advocates.
People On The Go extend a warm thanks to the many sponsors who made the conference possible.
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