Empowering people with disabilities to give voice to their interests, passions, knowledge, and experiences through public speaking.
People with disabilities develop the tools for self-advocacy and self-expression through public speaking with confidence and independence within a supportive environment of peers and mentors.
The powerful messages they create resonate within people’s hearts and minds, so both the performer and the audience are transformed, resulting in greater public awareness of the unique gifts and individuality of people with disabilities, increased commitment to community inclusion, and more opportunities for participants to engage in personally meaningful ways in the communities of their choice.
As in solo performances, participants plan their presentation, prepare with mentors, rehearse a few times to gain confidence, and then present or perform. Presentation sessions are held twice monthly for one hour, with two presenters scheduled for each session. Each session includes time for Q and A. Sample topics chosen by participants to date include self-advocacy, leadership, independent living, art, music, and culture.
Prior to the group sessions, participants work with mentors to identify a subject of interest and then plan the format and content of their presentation. Mentors work with participants on preparation and presentation skills. Participants can also serve as mentors to peers. Engaging the audience in creative ways (e.g., mixed media such as slides, music, video, artwork, dance) is encouraged.
- Connections with and learning from mentors, professionals, and peers
- Increased self-confidence and self-esteem
- Increased comfort with public speaking, performance, and self-expression
- Increased skills in public speaking and literacy
- Social interaction and friendship building
- Expanding participants’ circles to include others with shared interests
- Expanding knowledge and resources about new and existing interests