SCO Employee and Self-Advocate Shawn Nitz Honors NYS Assemblymember Harvey Weisenberg
August 18, 2014 / SCO News
The Alliance of Long Island Agencies, Interagency Council of Developmental Disabilities Agencies, Cerebral Palsy Associations of NYS and NYSARC hosted an event August 12, 2014 in Melville, NY, honoring NYS Assemblymember Harvey Weisenberg for his years of advocacy for people with developmental disabilities.
Shawn Nitz – who is both an SCO employee and an individual who receives services from SCO, as well as a strong self-advocate – made the first presentation on behalf of individuals with developmental disabilities. “Shawn did an outstanding job and presented like a pro!” said Susan Moran, Assistant Executive Director of Program Services for SCO.
Here is his statement:
“Hello, I am Shawn Nitz. I am a grassroots presenter, and NCI interviewer and the first recipient of the Erwin Schmidtkunz self-advocate of the year award from SANYS (Self-Advocacy of New York State)/Long Island. I am here today with my friend and long time self-advocate leader, Marisol Getchius, who is the advocacy assistant at UCP Suffolk as well as an advisor to The Self-Advocacy Association of NYS.
In the past, where I lived I didn’t have a lot of control. I wasn’t able to make many choices but I continued to advocate for myself, breaking ground and teaching people new things.
Today I have more Freedom, choice, and my own apartment. Wow! How things have changed in my life!
SANYS, Self-Advocacy and Self-Directed Services have changed my life for the better. Because of this I understand the important role of advocacy to support people of all skills, talents and abilities whether they choose traditional or self-directed services, living independently or with the support of an agency.
Because of my many experiences in family care, group living and advocacy I understand the importance of the support of great men like Harvey Weisenberg who has dedicated his life to help people like me and my friends to be acknowledged, respected, and safe. It is with great honor that we represent the thousands of self-advocate leaders statewide supported through SANYS to present Harvey with this certificate of acknowledgement for his hard work and dedication to supporting people with developmental disabilities through policy, advocacy, and a belief that ALL people should be treated with dignity and respect!!
We present Harvey with this certificate and these gifts with a pin that says, ‘Together We Are Stronger’ as he will not only be remembered as a great advocate for himself, his family and our community, but also a shining example of what a self-advocate leader is…Speaking up for yourself and others. We welcome him as an honorary member of our club! Congratulations and Thank You!!”
Last year, we helped
adults become employed heads of households
students in our transfer high schools who were at risk of dropping out graduated with a Regents diploma