MAC’s Young Adult Leaders Fellowship was featured in a recently published book from Fintan Sheerin and Elizabeth A. Curtis titled Leadership for Intellectual Disability Service: Motivating Change and Improvement. Former MAC Young Adult Leader Fellow Maximo Pimentel details his journey to becoming a self-advocate in a chapter of the book.
With a focus on innovative approaches to leadership in intellectual disability services, the book uses this chapter to highlight self-advocacy as a promising alternative. It is suggested that the challenges individuals with intellectual disabilities face may be due to their limited role in making important life decisions. MAC’s Young Adult Leaders Fellowship is introduced as an example of a distinct model for service leadership whereby individuals with intellectual disabilities are placed in more empowering roles. Other examples of leaders in disability services used in the book include areas of health, education, and social services.
In an interview with the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI), Maximo remarked, “I feel really fortunate to be sharing my experience in this book. This book will help not only the youth with disabilities here in the US, but around the world.”
Since serving as MAC’s Young Adult Leader Fellow in 2016-2017, Maximo has continued his work as a self-advocate. He now works with MAC training youth with disabilities about the importance of self-advocacy, through a grant funded by the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council (MDDC).
MAC’s legislative advocacy is also presented as an intrinsic factor in the establishment of the Massachusetts Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Initiative (MAICEI). Julia Landau, MAC Senior Project Director, is quoted in the book regarding the impact of self-advocates in the realm of legislative advocacy: “Self-advocates have had an extraordinary impact. Legislative leaders have repeatedly told us that their ‘yes’ vote directly resulted from the testimony they heard or meetings they had with the Fellows and other self-advocates.”