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Vita is proud to host three self-advocate groups. As an organization we have made a commitment to ensure that our members with disabilities have an opportunity to meet together to discuss concerns that are vital to them, to plan for things that they’d like to see happening with in the agency and to develop a voice that is heard both within Vita and within the province. Starting with one group, we now have grown to three, all at the request of our members; they, too, wanted choices and options for expressing their involvement. Our Self-Advocate Group has presented throughout the province and has provided consultation on how to set up a healthy self-advocacy organization.
Vita’s Rights Group was the first established within the organization and is now recognized as a vital part of the work we do. This group has an elected representative serve on the board and has established a strong presence within the organization taking part in staff orientation and even in hiring. The group meets and discusses issues of concern and organizes fund raising activities. They meet with other self-advocate groups and are often called upon to do training to other agencies in establishing healthy groups.
Some Vita members wanted to become involved in organizing activities for other self-advocates within the organization. Beginning with taking over planning for the big holiday celebration in December, the group is now taking on the organization of monthly dances and is looking at setting up other events within Vita. This group is self-directed and their activities touch the lives of many within Vita.
Members of Vita who are also members of the LGBT community came forward and asked for a group that they could belong to here in their home agency. The LGBT group was set up and it provides support and information to its members. The group marches annually in Toronto’s Pride Parade and also participates in SprOUT events that are co-hosted by the Griffin Centre and Community Living Toronto.