People First of Orange County is one of several chapters of the statewide self-advocacy organization, People First of California.
People First is a national self-advocacy organization and international, national, and statewide movement of people with developmental disabilities. People First means that we are People First and our disabilities are second. The members of People First chapters work to increase their self-advocacy skills by learning how to speak for themselves and others and build decision making skills about what is important in their own lives and lives of their peers. As a self-advocacy / self-help organization members help each other with problems, make friends, and reach out to people with severe disabilities. Members of People First work together to advocate for their rights, train others about disabilities, participate in community projects, hold social events, take political stands and/or plan conferences, conventions, or events.
The purpose of People First is to assist members in building self-confidence by providing a safe place to say how they feel and what they think. It is believed that a person who is given opportunity, training, and support with a peer group can learn to be a strong self-advocate for themselves and others. In People First meetings, members are given the opportunity to learn, practice, and develop their skills in public speaking, decision making, and problem solving.
People First educates people in the community to understand that people with developmental disabilities have the same citizen rights and responsibilities as others. As well, we help show others that we are capable of learning, working, living independently, and contributing to the community in great ways. Disability awareness is used by People First to change negative attitudes and build confidence in the abilities of people with disabilities. Working together and building up People First around the world also gives people with developmental disabilities a voice. A voice at the table gives us power to help change our lives and our world to be a better place for all people with disabilities to have live, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Goals of Self Advocacy
- To feel good about oneself
- To move toward greater independence
- To be able to communicate for oneself
- To learn to be assertive
- To have respect for oneself
- To be appreciated
- To seek out and identify with a community of friends
- To be able to receive services from people of one’s choice
- To be a valued member of one’s community
- To be productive
- To work for positive change
- To have an impact on others
- To secure enjoyment in daily activities
- To experience variety in daily routines
- To explore that which is unknown
- To have control over decisions and choice making in one’s life
- To know one’s rights and responsibilities
- To educate the public about capabilities and goals of people with developmental disabilities
Contact Area Board 11 at (714) 558-4404 if you are interested in joining People First of Orange County
People First Meeting Location
Regional Center of Orange County
1525 North Tustin Avenue
Santa Ana, CA 92705