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Practicing Self-Advocacy During Java with Jerry

News for 02.09.17
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By Norma Hernandez

As a staff member in Gatepath’s adult services, I’m always looking for new experiences for the people I serve. Every month, Senator Jerry Hill hosts Java with Jerry in locations throughout the Bay Area to give his constituents the opportunity to voice their opinions and ideas – all over a free cup of coffee! When I heard about this event, I thought it would be an excellent opportunity for my group to practice self-advocacy. Each participant made an extra effort to arrive early that day and get to the meeting on time. We even prepared for their conversation with the Senator by discussing various bills, laws, and legislation that affect California residents, especially those with special needs. Many participants were interested in policies that impact local employment for people with disabilities.



Once we arrived at the coffee shop, one of my participants, David, sat near the Senator and patiently waited his turn to speak. David voiced his concern about finding a job and paying his bills, which is a worry many people in his community share. Senator Hill acknowledged the need for employment reform for persons with disabilities and commended Gatepath for its dedication to a more inclusive world – from the classroom, to the workplace, to the community.



After the conversation ended, Senator Hill requested a photo with the group and my participants were happy to oblige! They were overjoyed to be part of such an important and special event. On behalf of Gatepath and those we serve, thank you, Senator, for taking time to meet with members of your community and hearing the viewpoints of people of all abilities.