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Strong Communities. Better Lives.

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Hello Advocate,

During the state budget deliberations last June, we held a news conference to advocate for maintaining health, human service, and early care & education programs. Kathy Cotman shared her story with Advocates for Ohio's Future.

Watch Kathy tell her compelling story on YouTube.

A person with a neuromuscular disability herself, Kathy advocates for services for people with disabilities by sharing her story with the public, lawmakers, and the media. She uses a wheelchair and needs 24-hour assistance with all activities of daily living. With the support of her family and friends and a number of public programs, Kathy went to college, lives independently, and participates in the activities of her community.

The Ohio Personal Care Assistance (PCA) program, the Individual Options Waiver (IO Waiver), Medicaid, and Social Security Disability have all enabled her to work and contribute to her community. After earning a BS in biology from Kent State University, she worked for The Cleveland Clinic for 25 years, paid taxes, volunteered for organizations advocating for the needs of persons with disabilities, and volunteered on church committees. 

Kathy concludes, "Without these programs, I would be isolated in a nursing home, cut off from the involvement in society which all of us are entitled to."

Advocates for Ohio's Future needs your help to collect more stories from people like Kathy. Will you share your story with OhioSPEAKS today?

OhioSPEAKS and our growing database of stories and storytellers will help Advocates for Ohio’s Future advocate for maintaining vital public services – health, human services, and early care & education – at a level that meets people’s basic needs and protects our state’s most vulnerable populations. The stories will be used to educate lawmakers, the media, and the public about the value of human needs programs. Real stories told by real people put a face to our advocacy efforts and increase the likelihood that a lawmaker will listen to our message. OhioSPEAKS will also create a pool of storytellers that may speak at events and testify before the legislature.

Will you take a moment to share your story -- as a consumer or provider -- today? Click here to write your story or upload a video.

Please forward this email and give people with disabilities in your community the opportunity to get involved and share their story.

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Will Petrik, Outreach Director