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Meet the Self-Advocates

East_Ernie_Roark

Meet Self-Advocate Mentor 
Ernie Roark from Oak Ridge, Tennessee

My self-advocacy started when I was 12 years old, after being encouraged by my brother to stand up for myself when my brothers and we were being mistreated. After moving to an Emory Valley Center supported home, I was offered training to become a Self-Advocate Mentor, completed the training and started working with the TN DIDD as a Self-Advocate Mentor.  I have been in this position since 2014. As a Self-Advocate Mentor, I helped lead Focus Groups on self-advocacy, rights and basic assurances.  I have also had an opportunity to be part of a Self-Advocacy panel, presenting at the TN Disability MegaConference, a Tennessee Autism Conference and a TN DIDD Employment Summit. As a Self-Advocate Mentor, I was invited to train to become a People Planning Together (PPT) Training, went through a PPT Training workshop, became the first Certified Self Advocate, PPT Trainer in East, TN and have lead three PPT Training workshops with my support staff. Last year, I was accepted as a self-advocate member of the Partners in Policymaking Leadership Program, which I have enjoyed participating in. As a result, I have encouraged and helped many people to “Speak Up” and “Speak Out” for themselves.


East_Nancy_Everett

Meet Self-Advocate Mentor 
Nancy Everett from Cleveland, Tennessee

Hello, my name is Nancy Everett and I live in Cleveland, Tennessee. I live with my family and they are very important to me. I enjoy volunteering at local Nursing Homes and a church ministry called Caring Place which provides free clothing to community members in need. I like to take care of myself through healthy eating and exercise. I advocate for myself by speaking up and speaking out as well as doing things for myself. My work as a Self-Advocate Mentor is important to me. I love this work because I enjoy helping others. Talking with my peers and helping them find answers is the best thing about being a Self-Advocate Mentor. I serve on Life Bridges’ Human Rights Committee and on the State of Tennessee Licensure Board.  Because of self-advocacy training, I am a leader now.


East_Sharline_McCarter

Meet Self-Advocate Mentor 
Sharline McCarter from Greeneville, Tennessee

Hello, my name is Sharline McCarter and I live in Greeneville, Tennessee. I work at the Mountain Vision offices in addition to my advocate mentor job. I also volunteer every week at my local hospital. My family and my cat are very important to me.  I advocate by standing up for myself and speaking out about what I want.  An example of this is that I wanted a tattoo and I got one! I am a self-advocate mentor because I want to speak up for my roommate and to help others get the services they need and want. 

Middle_Charles_Wood

Meet Self-Advocate Mentor 
Charles Wood

Charles’ great passion in life is that of an artist/painter and so he has an art studio set up in his modest but comfortable bachelor's quarters. It was vitally important to Charles to live as independently as possible, with minimal supervision, and without housemates - and his circle of support and the provider agency Mid TN Supported Living creatively support him in this endeavor.  Charles enjoys talking on the phone and spending time with his long term girlfriend. Along with being a Self-Advocate Mentor for Accreditation, Charles works with the People Talking to People project headed up by the ARC of Tennessee. Charles enjoys his role of being a Middle TN Self-Advocate Mentor with the Accreditation Team and leading focus groups of people supported to find out what their biggest issues and concerns are.


Middle_Leroy_Cothran

Meet Self-Advocate Mentor 
Leroy Cothran

Leroy is an avid collector of motorcycle memorabilia, collecting wallets, shirts, and knives. He also enjoys going out on dates with his girlfriend of the past year.  Leroy previously worked for 12 years for Kroger and is currently looking for new employment. What Leroy enjoys most about being a Middle TN Self-Advocate Mentor with the Accreditation Team is a crucial role he played in the CQL Accreditation process of Developmental Services of Dickson County (DSDC). As part of that effort he, along with others, visited the homes of people supported by DSDC to talk about their rights and what rights are important to them. Leroy also enjoyed participating in a spirited 2017 Mega-conference Accreditation workshop on people self-advocating for their rights.


Middle_Mary_Mangrum

Meet Self-Advocate Mentor 
Mary Mangrum

Mary enjoys her busy life and her many pursuits. Mary is very excited about having celebrated her one year anniversary with her boyfriend. Mary states that he is romantic and treats her like a lady. She collects books on Princess Diana. She enjoys bowling and photography and is a huge fan of Property Brothers on HGTV. Mary volunteers for Meals on Wheels.  She was laid off from her job around a year ago and is currently looking for new employment. What Mary enjoys most about being a Middle TN Self-Advocate Mentor with the Accreditation Team is a crucial role she played in the CQL Accreditation process of Developmental Services of Dickson County (DSDC). As part of that effort she, along with others, visited the homes of people supported by DSDC to talk about their rights and what rights are important to them. She enjoys talking to people and discovering the things most important to them.


Middle_Richard

Meet Self-Advocate Mentor 
Richard Thompson

Richard has been a proud employee of Cici’s Pizza for over 20 years. He enjoys spending time with his girlfriend of over 5 years. His passionate pursuits are bowling and softball. He is a member of the Middle Tennessee Regional Human Rights Committee and also serves on the board of the ARC of Davidson County.  What Richard enjoys most about being a Middle TN Self-Advocate Mentor with the Accreditation Team is leading focus groups of people supported and discovering more about what’s going on in the lives of people.  Several years ago Richard, with the support of his close church family, chose to be supported by the provider agency Residential Restoration in Middle Tennessee. 

West_Anthony_Hicks

Meet Self-Advocate Mentor 
Anthony "Craig" Hicks 

Craig has been a Self- Advocate Mentor (SAM) for six years. Craig enjoys going out in the community, meeting new people, learning new words and foreign language, and culture.

What do you like most about being a Self-Advocate Mentor (SAM): I like meeting new people; helping others make a change in their lives; teaching people about their rights and restrictions; advocating for changes to policies and bring smiles to people faces.

In what areas of your life have you used the training and knowledge you received as a SAM to achieve the outcomes and supports you desire:  I feel safe in my home and when I’m out in the community.  I’m free from abuse and neglect and I know who to tell if ever need to report it for myself or someone else. I love the apartment that I live in and a couple of years ago I had to advocate for myself so that I could continue to live here and not have curfews.  I have good friends and staff. I also have great spiritual relationships and support from my spiritual leaders and Rabbi.  

Supports: I need help from my staff to become my own representative payee, help to pay my own bills, and adequate transportation. If I get the support needed to help me achieve these things it would help me feel better about my rights, fair treatment, and respect. In regards to supports, I need access to adequate transportation so that I can get out in the community to meet more people, do more things, and go to Capitol Hill to advocate on behalf of myself and the staff.

My goal as a SAM is to facilitate focus groups to help others make changes in their life by teaching them about their rights, direct payee, and money manage.


West_Ashley_Miller

Meet Self-Advocate Mentor 
Ashley Miller

Ashley has been a Self- Advocate Mentor since 2012. She enjoys swimming and going to the movies.

What do you like most about being a Self-Advocate Mentor (SAM): I like receiving the information and training needed to make decisions, so, that I can speak up and speak out about things that are important to me.

In what areas of your life have you used the training you received as a SAM to achieve the outcomes you desire: I feel pretty safe at my home and when I’m out in the neighborhood. I know what to do and who to tell if someone tries to hurt me or do mean things to me I have privacy when I like and I vote when I want too. I live in a nice house and I have the staff and transportation that I need to get to my job at Marshall's dept. store where I have enjoyed working for the past 3 years as an associate.  I like to swim and go to the movies with my roommate and friends. I graduated from the University of Memphis (60 hours) Tiger Life program where I received a Certificate of Completion Award in Career and Community Studies. I have my brother who is my roommate; I made the choice to work at Marshall's.  My personal goals are to continue working at Marshalls Department store and to continue my college education.

As I continue to learn about rights/responsibilities, my goal as a Self- Advocate Mentor is to have meetings to help others learn about their rights/responsibilities so that they can exercise the rights that are most important to them.


West_Desheika_Erving

Meet Self-Advocate Mentor 
Desheika “Shay” Erving 

Desheika receives supports from WTFS in the West Region, and she has been a Self-Advocate Mentor for 7 months. Her hobbies include shopping, dancing, and singing.

What do you like most about being a Self-Advocate Mentor (SAM)?  I’m learning how to speak up and speak out about the things that are important to me.

In what areas of your life have you used the training and knowledge you received as a SAM to achieve the outcomes and supports your desire? I have used my training and knowledge in the areas of: Knowing who to tell if someone tries to hurt me, and I have privacy whenever I want. I graduated from the University of Memphis 60 hours Tiger Life Program where I received a Certificate of Completion in Career and Communities Studies. My family is very important to me and I enjoy spending time with them. I also enjoy hanging out with my roommate, friends, and staff. I picked the home I live in and I choose the things I do in the community.

My Personal Goals are: lose weight, learn to manage my money, spend more time with family and friends, find a job and continue learning more about my rights.

My goals as a Self- Advocate Mentor are: Help others speak up and speak out about the support they need to learn more about their rights and to find jobs.