The story behind Self Advocate Net

Bryce Schaufelberger (top) and Joe Rickley (bottom) work to make Self Advocate Net a valuable resource.

Bryce Schaufelberger (top) and Joe Rickley (bottom) work to make Self Advocate Net a valuable resource.

By Bryce Schaufelberger, Self Advocate Net Web Manager

I am the web manager for the B.C.-based SelfAdvocateNet.com website. We are an online community made by self advocates with diverse abilities for self advocates and their supporters worldwide. We are honoured to have this site recognized as a valuable resource for self advocates and the community living movement. We post articles, stories, photos and videos that strengthen our voice and share what is important to people with diverse abilities. Our mission is: “Change attitudes one person at a time.”

We have been running the site for over 14 years. We got started in fall 2000 at the second Self Advocate Leadership Retreat sponsored by H.O.M.E.S. (Healthy Opportunities for Meaningful Experiences Society). We created the Fraser Valley Self Advocacy Network which led to the creation of our website. We are thankful to Cam Dore, Executive Director of H.O.M.E.S, for his ongoing belief in self advocacy and for continuing to sponsor and coordinate the site.

The site was first created to help those with disabilities get online access. We also had help from CompuServe for computer tech issues. We started posting information and tips from self advocates on our website, and got some funding from the Ministry of Social Development and Economic Security.

As time passed, we developed the site further and went to Victoria to receive the Reboot B.C. award for public value transformation.

In 2005, I was hired by H.O.M.E.S to run their computer lab and spend more time working on the website. H.O.M.E.S also hired Joe Rikley to maintain and update the website and to assist in the computer lab.

In 2013, Community Living BC brought together self advocate leaders and asked how we could improve communication between the self advocacy community and CLBC. This led to the sponsorship of our site by the CLBC Communications department and the creation of the current self advocate-led Editorial Board who help give direction and write stories for the site.

Today, self advocates from around B.C. are being paid to write for Self Advocate Net. We are highlighting the leadership from our movement and are excited that allies, community members and government have a place to learn about our abilities and contributions as full citizens.

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