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

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Copyright © 2023
Advocates in Action RI, Inc.

Advocates in Action RI is a 501(c) non-profit organization. There are several ways you can support our work:

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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.

Attention 2023 Class Members:

Check your email for the NEW LINK to our private class home page!!

CLICK HERE to send us an email is you didn't get the link

Congratulations to Our New Leadership Series Members: the Class of 2023!

Jennifer Barone

Tara Boulais

Enma Cabrera Soto

Eymi Cabrera Soto

Jeanne Diaz

Crystal Dutra

Georgia McFadden

Marcelle Mejia

Amanda Morales

Zach Mroczek

Ariana Rodriguez

Dennis Thompson

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

We offer the Leadership Series free of charge to Rhode Island residents with developmental disabilities who are at least 18 years old, or who will be celebrating their 18th birthday during the current calendar year. Individuals who will be supporting a fellow class are also welcome to apply.

You don't need to read or write 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 2 1/2 years, and seeing how successful our graduates have been using a virtual platform, we've decided to continue using that format going forward.

Although there's no charge to participate, but we do have several graduation requirements which you can review below.

Click to ope the 2023 Leadership Series Graduation Requirements in PDF      Click to watch the 2023 Leadership Series Graduation Requirements Video Companion

Class member must have a way to send and receive email, whether they use their own address, or one that belongs to a family member, friend, or support staff. In addition, because the class is virtual, everyone 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.

Remember: the application deadline is Friday, January 20th, 2023

The deadline to apply for the class of 2023 ended on Friday, January 20th.

Applications had to be completed online, but we've included a PDF copy of the form for reference.

click to view a PDF copy of the application form.

We're here to help!

Use the button below to contact us at if you have any questions about the class and someone from our Leadership team will be in touch.

click this button to send us an email at

Meet Our Previous Leadership Series Graduates!

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

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:
February 24, 2023