Training the next generation of advocates

On February 27 and March 16 PILR staff spent the day at 2 local high schools teaching youth how to have more impact on their own lives. The training, called “Steer your life toward the future” is a two-day training with one day held at the local high school, and the 2nd day spent at Hutchinson community college.

On the day at the high school, we cover topics such as disability history, employment, goal setting and how to become more assertive. When we are at the college, the students will hear from the director of disabled students’ services and other college officials, as well as learn more about how they can become better advocates for themselves and the disability community.

At the beginning of the training, they were given a declaration of independence which had a right and a responsibility for each topic we will cover. Some of my favorite of these were:

  • Disability history, You have the right to honor our past; you have the responsibility to create our future.
  • Goal setting, You have the right to have dreams; you have the responsibility to make your dreams happen.
  • Life, you have the right both to succeed and to fail; you have the responsibility to learn from both.

One of the other highlights for me was during the segment on assertiveness, we wanted them to start thinking about the impact of words they use, and so we had them draw with toothpaste. We then ask them to get the toothpaste back in the tube. Of course they couldn’t do it, but it was a good opening to talk about how words are the same way. Once they are out, they can’t be taken back. It was an enjoyable day for me, and I believe the students learned a lot. I am now looking forward to our day at the college.

-Roger F.

Has there been a time where you wish you could take something back after you said it?

You can see pictures of the toothpaste activity below

 

Group 1 Drawing car out of toothpaste.

Group 1 Drawing a car out of toothpaste.

Group 1 Attempting to put toothpaste back into tube.

Group 1 Attempting to put toothpaste back into the tube.

 

Group 2 drawing a girl with toothpaste.

Group 2 drawing a girl with long hair out of toothpaste.

Group 2 Attempting to put toothpaste back into tube.

Group 2 Attempting to put toothpaste back into the tube.

 

Group 3 drawing a toothpaste tube with the toothpaste.

Group 3 ironically drawing a toothpaste tube with the toothpaste.

Group 3 Attempting to put toothpaste back into tube.

Group 3 Attempting to put toothpaste back into the tube.