It's all part of a recruitment drive.
I'm a small part of a project that's has the radical goal of teaching abuse prevention training to abuse prevention trainers with intellectual disabilities. People with disabilities teaching people with disabilities how to stop abuse, report abuse and, even more important, how to keep themselves and others around them, safe. Much of the work is done now, the train the trainer curriculum is written, the curriculum to be trained is written ... now begins the job of interviewing people with disabilities who want to become trainers.
To encourage this, I've come into town to do the training a couple of times so that we could do a recruitment drive for people to apply to become trainers right after. Our hope was that having seen the training, they would understand exactly what it was that we wanted to teach them to do. So, we began with a smallish group in the morning and a largish group in the afternoon. At each training people participated well and seemed to be having fun learning. In the back of my mind I kept wondering if there would be interest in the group for people to become trainers.
There were as always, wonderful moments:
One woman came to the front, hesitantly, with every step she took I could see courage. She did a role play and nailed the question that followed. The group spontaneously burst into applause. Her smile broadened and tears filled her eyes at the acknowledgement. She whispered to me, 'I did good?' I said, 'Yeah, you did great!' She walked back to her seat a more confident woman. Now I believe that this woman gets a lot of acknowledgement and praise in her life from her care providers. I saw her with them. But I wonder if this is the first time she received acknowledgment as a person with the capacity to learn. It made her different.
If I may be so selfish as to put my own experience in here, I could choose a thousand others. The afternoon session had over 60 people in it. They were red hot as a group and laughed and applauded, cheered and were cheered. At one point in the afternoon I was in the middle of the group, I always have a broad aisle way set up allowing me to up and down the room, and everyone was laughing.. I slowly turned my chair in a 360 circle while talking and asking questions. For a moment I felt that wonderful embracing feeling of being dead center in community. It was joyous.
Then at the end of each, I spoke briefly about the project but then a self advocate involved in the project came forward to explain more about what we wanted to do and describe how to apply. Then, we waited. Each time a line up formed, a quiet, solemn line up. There was determination on those faces. They wanted to make a difference, they wanted to help out. They wanted, most of all, to be part of the solution.
And with that 'Advocates Against Abuse' is off and running ...