Leaders Preview Topics To Be Discussed At Thursday’s Public Forum Today, the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) (www.gcdd.org ) hosted nine guests at a media roundtable in Statesboro to shed light on issues and practices affecting people with disabilities and their families. These issues will also be discussed in a Public Forum, Thursday, Oct., 14 at 5:30 p.m. This is an opportunity for GCDD members to hear what people with disabilities care most about at the local level. The Public Forum will be held at SpringHill Suites, 102 Spring Hill Drive in Statesboro.
Discussion at the media roundtable focused on how Statesboro and surrounding counties can access national and state programs and supports to improve community life for all families, including those affected by disabilities. “People First Language” - a way of writing and speaking about people with disabilities that reflects respect, conveys knowledge and portrays them accurately - was also discussed in the context of media coverage. The roundtable, co-sponsored by the Statesboro-Bulloch Chamber of Commerce unveiled GCDD programs and successful partnerships in other parts of the state that could be replicated in Statesboro. Topics included the Real Communities initiative, the Unlock The Waiting List! Campaign, transportation issues, education and employment. GCDD Executive Director, Eric E. Jacobson, also announced for the first time that GCDD has received a grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Developmental Disabilities. “Just last week we received a major grant that will help us enrich family support for the the Real Communities initiative.” Jacobson said. “The $250,000 per year potentially for five years will be key to building welcoming communities in places like Statesboro and throughout Georgia.” Thought leaders in attendance included: Mitzi Proffit, Statesboro Parent 2 Parent and Navigator 360 Coordinator. Dr. Alex Jordan, Director Southeast GLRS (Georgia Learning Resources System), Susan Radovich, board member, DBHDD (Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities), Leslie Schlierf, Special Education Program Supervisor, Bulloch County School System, Heather Hendricks, Parent Mentor Advisory Team, Candler City BOE, Dixie Aubrey, family member of a person with developmental disabilities Various members of the media, Tom Seegmueller, chairperson, GCDD, and Eric E. Jacobson, executive director, GCDD. The Media Roundtable, hosted twice a year by GCDD in various and rotating parts of the state, provides a venue for media to interact with community leaders from local, regional and state levels. “It’s important for us to hear from people at the grassroots level and learn what’s important in their community. Together we can share ideas, solve problems and effect change,” said Jacobson. Because one in five Georgians has a disability and greater than 50 million Americans have some type of disability as an occurrence of birth, injury or longevity, these topics are important to all citizens and must come to the fore of Georgia’s conscience and discussion. GCDD is a leading advocate for “Real Communities” – a concept that creates communities in which persons with developmental disabilities can participate in every aspect of life through Real Careers, Real Homes, Real Learning, Real Influence and Real Supports. The Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD), a federally funded, independent state agency, is a leading catalyst for systems change for individuals and families living with developmental disabilities. Through public policy initiatives, advocacy programs and community-building, GCDD promotes and creates opportunities to enable persons with disabilities to live, work, play and worship as integral members of society. A Developmental Disability is a chronic mental and/or physical disability that occurs before age 22 and is expected to last a lifetime. It may require supports in three or more of the following life activities: self-care, language, learning, mobility, self-direction, independent living and economic self-sufficiency. Visit www.gcdd.org for more information.