#AdvocacyMatters: A Meaningful Conversation
August 27, 2021 / #AdvocacyMatters
As you’ve probably seen, we have spent the last several weeks collecting information from across Ohio through our annual Goals and Objectives survey. The data collected throughout this process is used to ensure the needs of our communities are in focus as we plan our work for the coming year. This survey was shared through our website, on social media, via email, and in printed copies to be mailed. It was amplified by partner organizations, and our team ensured it made its way into residential facilities across the state. None of this was easy, but it was the only way to ensure that people with disabilities and their families, as well as advocates and other service providers, had an adequate opportunity to participate.
The results were enlightening: Responses grew by around 20% over last year. Of those who filled out the survey nearly one third were people with disabilities, and another third were families of people with disabilities. The rest of the responses were mainly from advocates, service providers, or other professionals, ensuring we get the clearest possible picture of the needs that exist within the communities we serve.
Survey results won’t be the only information guiding next year’s Goals and Objectives, however. While the survey was going on, members of our leadership team engaged in meaningful conversations with community leaders across a wide array of specialties. By opening dialogue and listening to these perspectives, the depth and breadth that can be reached far outpaces checking a box on a survey form. Conversations were had with people who have different disabilities, their families, advocates, and other professionals, as well as those who could offer perspectives on youth foster programs, aging issues, immigration and refugee issues, and others.
This information gathering process isn’t the end of these efforts… it’s the beginning. From here, this real-world feedback and context will inform and shape the vision of our work in the coming year. Our mission only comes to life when it’s rooted in the reality of our communities. As our work doesn’t exist in a vacuum, this information will ensure that our plans align with the actual needs being faced by Ohioans with disabilities. It isn’t an easy process, but it’s one we know is worth it… because #AdvocacyMatters.