This quarter’s featured NDAC member Candace Whiting says she believe the work of NDAC “is important because it helps those of us with Down syndrome speak up for ourselves and advocate for things we need to create a great life for ourselves.”
Candace, of Melbourne Florida, has been using her voice for many years in volunteer roles but also in her role as CEO of her own professional speaking business, Great Life Unlimited. Candace’s advice to beginner advocates is to “learn as much as you can and have fun. When you are very passionate about something, speak up!." She goes on to say she enjoys helping people of different abilities live a healthy lifestyle and was able to use that skill when she lived in Maryland to speak with state legislators and on Capitol Hill.
A little fun fact about Candace is that when she lived in Maryland, she was an alpine skier and since moving to Florida she’s a surfer.
Listen to why Candace joined NDAC below:
Advocacy Matters is a regular Policy Newsline feature. The goal is to share some of the great advocacy work being done by NDAC members who are advocates of all abilities and NDAC groups of all sizes.
Help us reach our NDAC Goal of having a self-advocate member in every state. We need self-advocates from the following states:
NDAC Tops 700 Members
The NDSC National Down Syndrome Advocacy Coalition (NDAC) had a major achievement with the addition of the 700th NDAC Member! We value the commitment and collective volunteer efforts of our now more than 700 NDAC members. NDAC is NDSC’s Grassroots Advocacy program. NDAC allows us to bring together advocates of all abilities from across the country. As constituents, NDAC members are an essential link to federally elected officials. If you would like to make an impact on policy, NDAC is for you.
Do you want to impact change?
Join the National Down Syndrome Advocacy Coalition & receive resources from NDSC's Policy & Advocacy team!
NDSC Congressional Policy Agenda for the 118th Congress
NDSC is thrilled to announce our Congressional Policy Agenda for the 118th Congress. The 118th Congressional Policy Agenda includes a focus on education, employment, Medicaid and Long-Term Services and Supports, and Social Security policies impacting people with Down syndrome. Other policy priorities include policies pertaining to civil rights, family support, financial security, healthcare, housing, increasing research funding, and increasing accessibility in the transportation sector.
Meet Chapman Bryant
Chapman Bryant is NDSC’s new Policy & Advocacy Associate. Before joining NDSC, Chapman was a Legislative Correspondent in the Office of Senator Roger F. Wicker where he oversaw several policy areas impacting people with disabilities working with the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP). Chapman’s passion for disability rights stems from his sister who was diagnosed with Down syndrome at birth in November 2010. Prior to his work in the U.S. Senate, Chapman interned in the U.S. House of Representatives as well as an internship with the Miss America Organization during the Summer of 2016. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Political Science and a minor in English from Mississippi State University.
Action Needed: Ask Your Members of Congress to Cosponsor the Better Care Better Jobs Act
For some people with disabilities, including those with Down syndrome, living in the community requires help with carrying out activities of daily living. Assistance with many of these activities is not covered by typical health care and private insurance. Medicaid is the primary payer for both health care needs and long-term supports for people with disabilities living in the community. Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS) provides critical support to enable people with disabilities to remain in their homes, stay active in their communities, and lead independent lives rather than in an institution.
The Better Care Better Jobs Act would enhance Medicaid funding for home care, helping many of the people on waiting lists nationally for HCBS services to finally receive care in the setting of their choice, allowing them to stay active in their communities, and live independently.
We need you to contact your Senators and Representatives to urge them to cosponsor the Better Care Better Jobs Act so that people with Down syndrome and other disabilities can receive services in the setting of their choosing!
This 3-hour session is designed for beginner advocates but is also a great opportunity for seasoned advocates to get the training needed to take their advocacy efforts to the next level. The NDSC Advocacy Training Boot Camp features information from self-advocates who are making a difference through their personal advocacy efforts, parent advocates, and the expert NDSC Policy & Advocacy Team. Advocacy Training Boot Camp is designed to be an Advocacy mini course with a focus on policy and advocacy. Whether you are a beginner to advocacy or are an experienced advocate, you will walk away with something new and be energized after this session. This session is appropriate for parents, professionals, and of course, self-advocates. Advocacy Training Boot Camp is included with all General Conference and Youth & Adults Conference registrations.
NDSC is partnering with the National Down Syndrome Society, Down Syndrome Affiliates in Action, LuMind IDSC Foundation, and GiGi's Playhouse, Inc. to present the 2023 Down Syndrome Advocacy Conference, April 17 - 19, Hilton, Crystal City Reagan National Airport. Our voices are stronger together! #DSAC2023