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Proud & Included for adults with IDD who identify as LGBTQ
From a press release
2017-03-28

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Chicago, IL, March 28, 2017 — Neumann Family Services, in partnership with the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities, announces the launch of a new Initiative — Proud & Included. Proud & Included is a project to develop community and inclusion for people with intellectual/developmental disabilities ( IDD ) who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning ( LGBTQ ) in Cook County. The initiative will deliver ongoing peer support, education, and self-advocacy training for adults with IDD who identify as LGBTQ, and will educate Chicagoland LGBTQ Community leaders and organizations about the need for delivering inclusive programs and services that welcome people with IDD who identify as LGBTQ.

"Adults with IDD are often marginalized and excluded from the mainstream community, and this is particularly true for adults with IDD who identify as LGBTQ. This initiative will connect people together to find support and community, and will work with the LGTBQ Community to expand its inclusion and embracing of all LGBTQ brothers and sisters that is its hallmark", said Joe Moag, Director of Institutional Giving for Neumann Family Services and Proud & Included Project Director.

Sandra Clymo, a self-advocate for people with IDD who identify as LGBTQ, said, "I'm thrilled, ecstatic! I think too many years went by for people with disabilities who are LGBTQ and didn't have a place to go or have someone to give support or to ask questions to." Self-advocacy plays a central role in Proud & Included, with self-advocacy training being delivered by Project Consultant Linda Sandman of Blue Tower Solutions and self-advocates leading the inclusion efforts within the larger LGBTQ Community.

Proud & Included will benefit from a Steering Committee — comprised of The Center on Halsted, Blue Tower Solutions, Inc., the Illinois Self-Advocacy Alliance, and Griffin Centre of Toronto, Ontario — that will help the project reach its goals. Mr. Moag pointed out that the Steering Committee will play a significant role in the success of Proud & Included: "Our Steering Committee members are vital to the success of this project. The Center on Halsted is the premier provider of LGBTQ Community services in the Midwest; Blue Tower Solutions, Inc., and the Illinois Self-Advocacy Alliance are world-class providers of self-advocacy training for people with IDD; and Griffin Centre in Toronto, OT, is an agency that pioneered this type of outreach and community-building programming for people with IDD who identify as LGBTQ."

Proud & Included will hire a full-time Project Manager to handle day-to-day management of the project's outreach, community-building, and inclusion education efforts. For additional information about Proud & Included, please contact Joe Moag, Director of Institutional Giving and Proud & Included Project Director, at jmoag@neumannfamilyservices.org or at 312/607-4990 .


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