As we celebrate March as National DD Awareness and Advocacy month, Boundless is a proud supporter and, now facilitator, of the Project STIR training curriculum.

Project STIR

Project STIR, a program through Ohio for Self Determination Association is designed to help individuals increase personal independence by learning leadership skills, how to self-advocate and achieve self-determination.  In fact, STIR stands for “Step Towards Independence and Responsibility.”  The Project STIR training manual is composed of seven different chapters- beginning with “Knowing Yourself” and moving into skill sets such as communicating assertively, problem solving and negotiation.  The final chapter teaches the individual how to start a self-advocacy group.

Although many people served by Boundless completed Project STIR training through other avenues, the Boundless team, inspired by their CQL journey, started its own group in January of this year.  In fact, a woman who calls Boundless home, completed Project STIR train-the-trainer workshops last year is now using what she has learned to be an integral part of the self-advocacy group’s creation and success.

Learning to Self-Advocate

Boundless Project STIR is co-chaired by Boundless Social Worker Sara Henderson, MSW, LISW-S and Michelle Stewart, Community Living Assistant Director, who lead bi-weekly meetings comprised of  ten (10) participants with expected growth as word continues to spread!

Michelle shares, “As part of our mission statement, we need to always be inspiring the potential of people and building opportunities for individuals to speak up for themselves and be leaders not only in their lives, but in the lives of others.”

The Boundless team is already witnessing the effects of Project STIR in a few short months.  Some group participants, who initially couldn’t think of personal examples of speaking up for him/herself or others now have multiple experiences to share.

Sara and Jennifer, a Boundless Project STIR meeting member, attended a three day Project STIR conference this month.  Jennifer, who is already a leader at home and work, was extended the option to attend so that she may use the training to strengthen her voice – learning to say “no” for herself and to stand up for others.

Sara states, “Project STIR will help residents learn about their rights, speak up about their rights, and lend their voice to others to ensure their rights are also being honored. We also hope that Project STIR will help individuals have more of a presence in their community. We hope that community members see us meeting, learning, and growing and then get to know us when individuals use their voice in groups, clubs, and investing in their neighborhoods!”

Photo by TheCulinaryGeek