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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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The Leadership Series.
Nothing about us without us!

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.

Remember: the application deadline is Friday, January 19th, 2024

The deadline to apply for the 2024 Leadership Series was Friday, January 19th, 2024

Thank You to of this Year's Applicants!

About the Advocates in Action Leadership Series

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, navigate the DD System, connect with the community, and live life on their own terms, just like everyone else does! 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 2024 Series begins with a virtual retreat on Wednesday, February 7th, from 10:30 am - 2:30 pm. After the retreat, classes meet on Wednesday afternoons from February 14th to June 24th. The weekly classes runs for an hour and a half, from 1:00 to 2:30 pm.

Some of the topics you'll learn about include:

  • How to Navigate The RI Developmental Disabilities Service System

  • Qualities of an Effective Leader

  • Community Integration

  • Disability Rights

  • How Government Works and How to Vote

  • Making Informed Decisions

  • Person-Centered Thinking and Individualized Service Plans

  • Personal Introduction and Communication Skills

  • Public Speaking and Presentation Skills

  • Technology Tips

  • And More!

Applicants don't need to read or write in order to participate in the Series. We present information in a variety of formats, including pictures, video, music, games, art, and more, to make the content engaging, inclusive, and accessible. We also have a team of Leadership Series graduates who work for our organization as Peer Mentors and will be available to answer questions, assist with homework, and support class members throughout our time together.

image of Leadership Class members on a Zoom screen with the words, "let's zoon!"

Advocates in Action has been offering the Series free of charge since 1995, thanks to an initial grant from the RI DD Council, and on-going 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. After receiving positive feedback from doing so over the past four years, and seeing how successful our graduates have been using a virtual platform, we've decided to continue using that format going forward.

Click on these words or the image below to download our Leaderships Series 2024 Outreach flyer. This is a 2-page PDF file.

Click this image to download the outreach flyer

Membership and Graduation Requirements

To join the Leadership Series, you must be a Rhode Island resident with a developmental disability, age 18 or older, or celebrating your 18th birthday in 2024.

Although there's no charge to participate, we do have a set of requirements that you must meet in order to graduate. We've included a PDF copy of these requirements, along with a video companion. We encourage applicants to review the video and download a copy of the requirements using the links below. We'll also review this information during the interview that all applicants must attend once they've submitted their application form.

And while you don't need to read or write to be in next year's class, you do need a way to send and receive email, whether you use your own address, or one that belongs to a family member, friend, or support staff. In addition, because the class is virtual, you'll also need a way to participate using the Zoom video app, and the ability to go online for homework assignments, team games and other activities.

Click on these words or the image below to open a PDF file with the Leadership Series Graduation Requirments.

Click this image to download a PDF copy of the 2024 Leadership Requirements

You can also watch the following video that explains the requirements:

About the Application Form & Application Process

We've included some tips that may help with the application process in the space below, and recommend reviewing each of them before you open the application form.

1) About QuestionPro: We created the 2024 Leadership Series Application with a tool called QuestionPro and are managing it through their site. The full address for the online form is, which means it will open on the QuestionPro website instead of ours.

Some web browsers may have difficulty with this link and some people may think it's too long so we created a shorter one that you can use instead at Either way, although it says, rest assured that the application is from Advocates in Action!

2) Video Companions: We've included a video companion for each part of the application. The companions are located on the top left of each page in the form. They look like a YouTube video player with the text, "Click the red button to view the video companion and listen to the text on this page."

We've included a sample page for illustration. If you need help with any of the questions, click the corresponding red button to view the companion and hear the question read aloud and explained.

Sample page from the 2024 Leadership Series with a YouTube video player on it.

We host these videos on the Advocates in Action YouTube Channel, which means you can use YouTube's accessibility features to turn on closed captions and translate the form into your preferred language.

Click on these words to open our YouTube Tutorials page for information about using and translating captions in the YouTube Player.

3) Preview the Online Form: The form must be completed online. Click on these words or on the button below if you'd like to preview the application as a PDF file.

Click this image to download a PDF copy of the 2024 Leadership Application.
Please note: This PDF is for Reference Only.
Applications must be completed online.

4) Watch the Recording from one of our Virtual Open Houses: Our AinA Leadership Team hosted a Virtual Open House in December and January. During these 1 hour sessions, attendees had the opportunity to learn about the Leadership Series and how to complete an application, hear from previous graduates, and ask questions about the Class. Watch a recording from our December Open House below.

The 2024 Leadership Series Virtual Open House, Wednesday, December 6th, 2023

5) Ok, you've submitted your application, now what? Once you've submitted your application, our team here at Advocates in Action will review your application and send you a copy of your completed form, along with instructions for scheduling your interview. Everyone who applies for next year's class, including support staff, must attend an interview (more about those interviews below).

schedule your interview and join us on zoom

Remember to check your email and contact us at if you haven't received our message within 24 hours after you submitted your completed application. Be sure and include the name and email address you used on the form and the date you applied when you send this message.

6) The Leadership Series Interview: Everyone who applies for next year's class must attend an interview. Interviews last approximately 20 minutes and will take place virtually using the Zoom Video App on the days and times listed below. Note: You need to submit your completed application before you can schedule an interview.

Calendar for the month of January 2024 with the dates and times listed below this image.

Interview Days: Monday, January 22nd | Tuesday, January 23rd | Wednesday, January 24th | Thursday, January 25th | Friday, January 26th

Interview Times: Appointments are available between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm.

7) We're here to help: If you have any questions about the application process, or would like assistance completing the online form, use the button below to email us at and someone from our Leadership team will be in touch.

click this button to send us an email at

8) Remember: This is a No Stress Situation! The application form includes 20 questions which you must answer or you won't be able to submit the form. While 20 questions may sound like a lot, the majority of the answers are up to you. That means the only way you can get them wrong is by leaving them blank.

And if you're unsure about an answer, that's not a problem, either! Give it your best try and let us know if you're not sure about an answer by writing that on the form. Doing so won't disqualify your application. Instead, it simply means we'll spend some time talking about that question during your interview. So relax, take your time, and remember to send us a message if you'd like some help completing the form.

This is not a test!

9) Apply as soon as possible: The application deadline for the 2024 Leadership Series was Friday, January 19th. CLICK HERE to sign up for our mailing list if you'd like to receive information about next year's class and other events from Advocates in Action.

Dates to Remember:

Virtual Open House #1: Wednesday, December 6th, 2023, 1-2 pm

Virtual Open House #2: Wednesday, January 10th, 2024, 1-2 pm

Application Deadline: Friday, January 19th, 2024

Leadership Series Interviews: Monday, January 22nd - Friday, January 2th, 2024

Kick-Off Retreat: Wednesday, February 7th, 10:30 am - 2:30 pm

Weekly Classes: Wednesday afternoons, 1 - 2:30 pm, February 14th - June 24th, 2024

Graduation Ceremony: June, 2024

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

CLICK HERE or use the button below to send us your suggestions, corrections and ideas.

click HERE to send us an email with links, resources and other ideas to add to this page:

This Page was updated on:
January 30, 2024