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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.

We are currently accepting applications for the Leadership Series Class of 2024!

Click on these words or the button below to learn about the class and how to apply.

click this image to learn about the class and how to complete an application

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.

While there's no charge to participate, member must meet a set of requirements to graduate, which include having a way to send and receive email, either by using your own address or someone else's, and having a way to access the internet and participate in virtual meetings using the Zoom video app. But don't worry if you've never used Zoom before, that's one of the things you'll about in class!

Click on these words or on the image below to view the full set of Graduation Requirements for the Class of 2024.

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

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

Use the button below to contact us at if you have any questions about the Series.

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:
December 1, 2023