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The 'Champions of Rights'

Vinton County Courier - 7/11/2018

To advocate for the rights of those with developmental disabilities, one local group is choosing to serve the community.

Champions of Rights mobilized this year and consists of many individuals from Vinton Industries, Southern Ohio Adventures Recreation (SOAR) and Goodwill. It's an advocacy group under the Vinton County Board of Developmental Disabilities, and its goals are to integrate its members more into the community and increase awareness.

Champions of Rights meets monthly to organize community service projects and give its members ideas on how to advocate for developmental disabilities.

"There are a lot of needs in our community," said Kathy King, an independent provider who is organizing activities for the new group. "We're just trying to be good neighbors."

So far, participants have collected shoes for the First Grade Giving Feet shoe drive held at South Elementary this year. They also ran concessions at the Vinton County Soccer League's games this spring.

People First, a national network of self-advocacy groups, encourages county boards of developmental disabilities to organize groups to teach communities about stumbling blocks many people with developmental disabilities face: employment, transportation and education plans, to name a few.

"What we want to get across is rights for everybody," King said. "Anything that we do to network our community benefits everyone, not just people with special needs.

"I think labels kind of hurt people," King continued. "Instead of focusing on what people can do, we sometimes focus on what they can't do."

 
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