Rivershore, Inc. recognizes that personal success is directly impacted by the degree to which a person is empowered to determine the direction of their own life. Empowered people experience far more personal success and are more satisfied with the services they receive. Empowered organizations perform better in all categories and have a greater likelihood to sustain that performance. Rivershore believes that self-advocacy is the catalyst for a person’s own empowerment and growth.
Self-advocacy provides an opportunity for people with disabilities to unite and make changes to improve their lives. In 2000, a person receiving services initiated of a self-advocacy group at Rivershore. Their mission statement "Express Yourself for Change," declares that collectively and individually people have a voice in facilitating positive change. Through self-advocacy people are empowered to make their own choices, be more independent, and to speak out and work to change the service system for the better.
We support and further self-advocacy efforts through three key areas; supporting people to advocate in one’s own life, supporting people to advocate through self-advocacy groups, and supporting people to advocate through government and legislative arenas.
We collaborate with the self-advocacy group; valuing their input and participation in agency decision-making. Self-advocates participate in the employee interview and hiring process, employee education and training, and are members of various teams and committees including quality teams, Rivershore’s board of directors, and the Rivershore Foundation Board.
Over the years, self-advocacy contributions have led to changes within our agency. Many people now plan and facilitate their service plan meetings, and a formal process for including an individual with disabilities on the Rivershore board of directors was developed.
Partnerships with self-advocacy have increased with the designation of office space for a self-advocacy center in the Rivershore’s main office. The self-advocate group proudly utilizes this office with a focus to increase opportunities for people with disabilities.
Rivershore and the Road Runners Club have been recognized an unprecedented five times for their self-advocacy support and efforts by the Self-Advocacy Association of New York State; 2010 Self-Advocacy Advisor of the Year, 2008 Self-Advocacy Group of the Year, 2007 Western Region Agency of the Year, 2006 Agency of the Year, and Western Region Agency of the Year.
- "Rivershore was very helpful in getting my own place. It is changing my life—I will be more independent and have my own room. I will get more privacy, be treated more like an adult, and have more freedom—to decorate my room, cook my own dinner, and take the bus to and from work. I will have more responsibility, more self-control, and more self-confidence."
- - Kelly, service recipient
- "I really enjoyed working with Rivershore and have learned a lot about myself, disabilities, and people. Rivershore has allowed me to grow and become more comfortable with myself. I believe that I now have a more positive outlook on life situations and people. I feel more comfortable around people, free to be myself and say what I feel. At Rivershore, my opinions and ideas were always considered and often implemented. Rivershore gave me life experiences and a greater knowledge about people. I learned it’s better to teach than to do for someone, and that everyone has his or her own special skills and abilities. I can’t explain how much I have learned and gained from working with Rivershore. I looked forward to going to work, the people that I worked with have taught me so much more than I could ever teach them. I wish that everyone had the opportunity to experience what I have experienced through Rivershore at some point in his or her life. Thank you for the opportunity to work for such an excellent agency."
- - Rivershore Alumni
- "One of my goals is to have my own apartment. Rivershore is helping me meet my goals. Rivershore worked with me to make my dream come true. I have good dreams about my apartment. I can’t wait until I move in."
- - Michelle, service recipient
- "Today has been a life changing experience. In my 29 years of service I have never seen anything like it, and I will never look at my work the same again."
- - Dr. Hugh Tarpley, State Services Director for Manhattan reflecting on his visit to Rivershore.
- "Rivershore truly carries out its mission and values all of the time. It’s not just words on paper. It is the mindset of all employees to always be thinking of ways to assist people to have the chance to pursue the things that are important to them."
- - Rivershore Employee