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Self-Advocacy means
realizing what's important,
speaking up about it
and making a difference!

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Advocates in Action RI, Inc.

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This is our Leadership Masthead: Represented by a flock of geese flying in V-formation over the words The Leadership Series"

Photo collage of the the Leadership Series Class of 2022.
Congratulations Graduates

Congratulations to this year's Graduates:

Becky Bernard

Mark Boss

Lydia Dubois

Michael Eddy

Christian Gallagher-Peacock

Kathy Gudmundson

Ellee Kenyon

Tim Marcoux

Connor Obrien

Delmarie Rivera

Joe Stone


John Williams

The Super Talented, Extra Caring, and Beyond Incredible Leadership Series Class of 2022!!!

The Leadership Series: 
Decision-Making, Person-Centered Life, 
Informed Risk, 
The RI DD Service System, 
Individual Support Plans, 
Government and Voting, 
Communication Skills, 
Life Outside the Box, 
Disability Rights, 
Community Connections, 
Rights and Responsibilities, 
Find Your Passion & Follow Your Dreams!

Join us for the next Leadership Series! The class of 2022 begins in January  Click here to learn about the Leadership Graduate Academy.

You've reached our Leadership Series page. CLICK HERE if you've already graduated from the Series and would like to join our Leadership Graduate Academy.

The Leadership Series is an in-depth learning experience that's user-friendly, interactive, informative and fun! We created the Series with a team of Self-Advocates and other allies to empower Rhode Islanders age 18 and older who have an intellectual/developmental disability (I/DD) to speak up for themselves, connect with community, and live life on their own terms (just like everyone else). While the Series is designed primarily for individuals who have an I/DD, family members, staff, and friends who will be supporting a class member are also welcome to apply.

The Series focuses on the themes of Self-Awareness, Self-Determination, and Self-Advocacy. Some of the topics you'll learn about in class include:

  • Circles of Support

  • Community Integration

  • Disability Rights

  • Exercising Your Right to Vote

  • How Government Works

  • Individualized Services Plans

  • Making Informed Decisions

  • Person-Centered Thinking

  • Personal Introduction and Communication Skills

  • Public Speaking

  • Qualities of an Effective Leader

  • The RI Developmental Disabilities Service System

  • And More!

You don't need to able to read or write in order to participate. We use pictures, video, music, games, and other materials to make information accessible, engaging,inclusive, and easy to understand. We also match students with one of our Peer Mentors, who will be available to answer any questions, assist with homework, and offer other support to help make your experience a success. Our Peer Mentors are Leadership Series graduates who we hire to help teach future classes. Once you've completed the class, you might be interested in joining our team here at Advocates in Action, too!

AinA has been offering the Series free of charge since 1995, thanks to funding from the RI Division of Developmental Disabilities at the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities, and Hospitals (BHDDH).

In 2020 the global pandemic forced us to adapt our curriculum mid-way through and help members of that year’s class complete their training virtually.

In 2021 we conducted the entire Leadership Series virtually, from the application and interview process, to the 2-day kick-off retreat, weekly meetings, and extra-curricular activities, to a Zooming graduation ceremony and celebration.

As our most recent graduates explained when they received their diplomas, meeting via Zoom enabled them to attend weekly and participate in related events without worrying about transportation. It also allowed participants to meet with their Peer Mentor for individual support sessions as needed, and connect with fellow class members. In fact, the virtual experience was such a success that we’ve decided to do it again!

CLICK BELOW to watch one of our virtual Open House Sessions for more information about the Leadership Series:

As mentioned above, there's NO COST to participate! Eligible applicants must be a Rhode Island resident with a developmental disability, age 18 or older. And while you don't need to read or write, you'll need a way to send and receive email, which many people do with help from a family member, friend, or support staff. You'll also need the ability to participate in classes and other events virtually through Zoom and the ability to go online for homework assignments, team games and other activities.

** Applications for the next Leadership Series will be available in January 2023 **

In the meantime, we hope you enjoy the following Leadership video from our 2022 graduates!

CLICK one of the buttons below to contact us for more information about

email  phone: 1-877-532-5543

Meet Our Previous Leadership Series Graduates!

Photos of the Leadership Class of 2021 members:
Jillian Baltruchitis, Jason Caldeira, Lisa Dragon, Denise Flynn
Joshua Kell, Maurice Lee
Vincent Mancini, Matthew Pierce,
Joseph Tisdale
Congratulations Graduates!

The Leadership Series Class of 2020

the totally awesome Leadership Series Class of 2019

Leadership Series Class of 2018 photo

Click here to view video slide shows from previous Leadership Series and Partners in Policymaking classes.

Our website is a work in progress and we welcome your input!

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This Page was updated on:
July 5, 2022