GALLIPOLIS — Gallia PALS, while integrating itself into the community and making efforts to give back, remembered the importance of leadership, fellowship and self-advocacy during March as part of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.
“At Gallia PALS, we have a self-advocacy program,” said Gallia PALS Executive Director David Price. “All clients are invited to be a part of it, if they choose. Some do and some don’t. We also have a leadership structure compromised of four individuals, Darrell Wall, Amber Stewart, Caleb Patterson and Cathy Tucker. These four are the leaders of our self-advocacy at Gallia PALS and they take the lead as far as representing not only themselves but also for their peers who might be shyer and feel more comfortable talking to (the leadership team) and still want to express themselves.”
The program is utilized to encourage clients to take ownership of PALS services and allows those utilizing those services to voice concerns and desires with those services.
“They’re also here to be a support (to the clients),” said Price of the team. “They’re all pretty confident and know how to speak into their services. The self-advocacy has been here for a number of years and its our goal to make it stronger than it’s ever been. These four folks do a good job of getting that foundation built, are committed and have been a big help in getting that foundation built.”
Price lauded the work of the self-advocacy program during the 2019 November Gallia Hunger Challenge which was hosted at the Gallia PALS location in the Silver Bridge Plaza of Gallipolis. The director also commended leader efforts in other activities over the rest of the last year. The team represented Gallia PALS at the Night-to-Shine prom program in February. The group also volunteers for the Gallia Snack Pack program. The director said that the group had assisted in repairing a bridge at Camp ECCO as a good-willed gesture in the past as well.
“There’s some people in this world who just don’t understand about folks who have disabilities,” said Patterson. “It’s important to listen and to help others and the people here (at Gallia PALS).”
“We just want (others) and them to know they’re helping us build a good program here,” said Price. “They’re setting the example themselves.”
Dean Wright is a staff writer with Ohio Valley Publishing and can be reached at 740-446-2342.