Lived Experience Advocacy Academy by Kim Westrick

LEAA Graduates

Back row from left to right: Rodney Roddewig, Aisha Williams, Alan Cochran, Amaal Greenwood-Goodwin; Front row from left to right: Kathy Mackin, Beth Avina, Rocio Cornejo, Eddrena Peters, Michael Lim; Missing: Carlos Rocha (November 17th, 2015)

Ten lived experience advocates graduated from the first annual Lived Experience Advocacy Academy on November 17th, 2015 and will go on to participate on BHRS committees, commissions, and other decision-making bodies.

The Lived Experience Advocacy Academy was designed for individuals living with mental health and/or substance use challenges and/or their family members, who have graduated the Lived Experience Academy (Speaking Academy) and want to get involved in advocacy work. The Advocacy Academy consisted of 6 2-hour sessions on topics of Advocacy skills, goal setting, county government, persuasion, and BHRS commissions. Participants improved their skills in advocating for themselves and their communities and in bringing the voices of those with lived experience to the decision-making table. In an effort to diversify our workforce and provide paid work opportunities to those with lived experience, participants were paid $20/hour for their time.

The Lived Experience Academy and the Lived Experience Advocacy Academy are each held once a year, as part of a 2-tier program for those with lived experience. The next Lived Experience Academy will take place starting February 9th, 2016. We are currently accepting applications until January 18th! Please contact Kim Westrick (kwestrick@smcgov.org ) for an application or look out for the email blast for more information.