Texas Advocates — Project SAVE

Project SAVE

George Perez poses with Senator Juan Hinojosa
George Perez meets with his State Senator, Juan Hinojosa, at the Capitol to talk about Medicaid and the need for funding home and community based services. Perez is a Texas Advocates Board Member representing Coastal Bend Self Advocates.

Statewide Need
There is a continued need for the development of training programs and resources to assist Texans with developmental disabilities (DD) and their families learn leadership and advocacy skills. To do this, leadership development and advocacy skills training programs must exist in many different areas around the state. Because it is unlikely that any one organization can provide enough funding to meet the demand, it is imperative that organizations that offer this kind of training work with others. This type of collaboration can help to increase the number of identified leadership development and advocacy training programs that are able to provide culturally appropriate training for individuals with DD.

Project Goal
Train State Supported Living Center residents and community organizations on the history of the disability movement, self-determination and self-advocacy. Provide self-advocates with training to help them better advocate for themselves on real-life issues such as transition and employment.

Project Summary
Project SAVE (Self Advocate Voices are Engaged) provided training and support on a statewide level, through community-based self-advocacy activities, and via social media outreach. Training sessions for people with DD were held on topics including Disability History, Voting, Goals & Dreams, Healthy Relationships, Employment, and Community Living. Guest speakers were brought in from other organizations, including Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, Disability Rights Texas, SafePlace, as well as former Texas Advocates.

Staff from Project SAVE partnered with staff from the Arc of Texas’ Project MOVE for a training on legislative advocacy and community organizing. SAVE also partnered with the Institute on Person-Centered Practices for a People Planning Together training.

The project coordinator presented at a variety of meetings, symposiums, and conferences, both in Texas and nationally, and was able to attend conferences alongside SAVE graduates. The coordinator also attended four legislative breakfasts during session to educate staffers and legislators on disability rights.

SAVE graduates were able to participate at the capitol and give testimony at hearings. A number of graduates where able to secure positions on local boards and Texas Advocates chapters.

Texas Advocates supported 23 graduates from all three years and all seven training sites to attend the Texas Advocates Conference. This was the first time that participants from the El Paso and Rio Grande Valley State Centers, as well as other individuals, were able to attend.

  • Impact
    • Over 1100 people were trained in leadership, self-advocacy, and self-determination
    • Over 2100 people benefited from the quality assurance efforts of the Council
    • 12 individuals were elected to local and state Boards after participation with the grant
    • Advocates were supported to testify and make visits at both the 83rd and 84th Legislature

Project Period
Mar 1, 2012 – May 2015

8001 Centre Park, Suite 100
Austin, TX 78754

Geographic Reach
Travis, Guadalupe, Bexar, Atascosa, Starr, Hidalgo, Willacy and Cameron Counties

shape of state of Texas in blue with Travis, Bexar, Atascosa, Guadalupe, Cameron, Willace, Hidalgo and Starr Counties colored orange