Karie was at the first meeting of People First-San Luis Valley back in 1997 and she has been involved ever since. She has also represented rural Colorado on the DD Planning Council and is now the VIce President of the state group Speaking for Ourselves.
Karie is a woman making a difference!
Here is what she had to say in an interview on 1.27.14:
HOW HAVE PEOPLE FIRST AND SPEAKING FOR OURSELVES HELPED YOU?
They have helped me become more independent and give me the way to reach a goal of facilitating about disabilities....of being an advocate for people with disabilities.
WHAT EXACTLY ABOUT THESE GROUPS HAS HELPED YOU?
Having other people with disabilities to talk with about their lives and their disabilities...to know what they are facing and they know what I am facing. There isn't any talk about this at my workshop, so I didn't get to reach my goal there.
WHAT DOES THE PHRASE "SPEAKING FOR OURSELVES" MEAN TO YOU?
We're disability advocates and we can say what we want and how we feel and not be embarrassed.
IS THERE ANYTHING ABOUT PEOPLE FIRST OR SPEAKING FOR OURSELVES THAT HAS NOT GONE WELL FOR YOU?
Getting to the meetings is always a problem, especially the state meetings.
WOULD YOU TELL ME THREE WISHES OR DREAMS OR GOALS YOU HAVE NOW?
1. Go to the national Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered conference in Oklahoma this October.
2. Go to a Nuggets game. I never went to one.
3. Go back to California to visit one of my cousins.
WHAT MAKES IT HARD TO REACH THOSE GOALS?
Transportation is always the biggest one. If you don't drive, you have to wait for someone else to go too, and depend on someone else all the time. It's a big issue always. There are no buses available in the SLV. Also saving money is always an issue too.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT THE SAN LUIS VALLEY?
I have lived here my whole life. Knowing so many people here is what I like. When I post something on Facebook, I get a lot of responses and they like what I am saying. I get encouraged. I can be social here in the SLV because I know so many people.
SO IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU THINK FACEBOOK IS IMPORTANT?
People with disabilities can find out about meetings and activities and keep in touch with people. They can see pictures. I keep in touch with my friends.
WHAT IS THE HARDEST PART, IF THERE IS ONE, OF LIVING IN THE SLV?
Transportation...it's always transportation.
AT A LOT OF STATE MEETINGS THESE DAYS, THE TOPIC OF EMPLOYMENT KEEPS COMING UP. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT EMPLOYMENT?
People with disabilities want jobs not in sheltered workshops. They want jobs in the community.
WHAT ARE SOME THINGS YOU HOPE WILL HAPPEN WITH PEOPLE FIRST-SLV AND SPEAKING FOR OURSELVES?
I really want to go to the national Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered meeting in Oklahoma and we need to do fund raising to go there. I would like to have the community help us fund raise sometimes. Maybe we need to have a fund raising meeting and ask people to help us figure out how to reach our goals with fund raising. If you want to donate to People First-SLV so that we can go to the state meeting, check the contacts page of our website for information on how to do that.
WHO DO YOU THINK MIGHT LIKE BEING A MEMBER OF PEOPLE FIRST-SLV?
Anyone who wants to learn. Anyone who wants to be an advocate for themselves or for other people too. It's fun too.