The Massachusetts Families Organizing for Change (MFOFC) is a statewide, grassroots coalition, which focuses on supporting families and individuals to live in their communities as naturally and typically as desired. The Family Leadership Series is currently sponsored annually in four different areas of Massachusetts by the regional chapters of MFOFC. The central region will join together on Friday/Saturday: October 25 & 26, 2013 at Sturbridge Host Hotel, 366 Main Street, Sturbridge, MA 01566.
The Series focuses on:
* Initiative and Leadership – family members are given information on the background of the family support movement, leadership, advocacy and the significance of self-advocacy, how to effectively advocate to create change and ways to influence funding and delivery systems.
* Creating a Vision – a number of presenters offer their perspectives on a broad range of topics: Inclusion in schools; supported employment; positive practices; community living and family support. Families are supported to “imagine better” and to create a vision.
* Policy Making at the Local, State and Federal Level – family members receive information on how to develop networks with professionals and families. How to access and control resources that affect family stress and satisfaction, and how to use legislative change to procure resources.
Families who attend the Series are required to attend each of the two-day sessions, participate in activities/experiences during the sessions, and to complete assignments/reading between each session. Food and overnight lodging for each family is paid for by the Department of Developmental Services and other state agencies, organizations and businesses. Respite/child care/nursing for family members is arranged on an as needed basis.
Families who have completed the Series during the past twenty years have had a tremendous impact on systems change for families and individuals with disabilities in Massachusetts. Family members have been active in policy and decision making locally, regionally and statewide and some have decided to do legislative advocacy work. Some families have been involved in community organizing and advocacy on a local level. Others have used their talents and skills to create change for their child with a disability and/or their families. Upon completion of the Series, Series organizers provide support to families as they continue to advocate for, and work to create change for their families an others. Events are held to re-connect the Series participants from time to time.
Applications from families with children or adult family members of any age with any disability who are Department of Developmental Services eligible are encouraged to attend. Applications must be returned by September 28 to Anne Hurst, 24 Hillside Place, Gardner, MA, 01440. Applications will be reviewed upon receipt, and you will be notified within approximately three weeks. Contact Anne Hurst, Family Leadership Coordinator HMEA Inc. at 978-632-7904 or email: fl@HMEA.org for more info.