Keynote & Plenary Sessions

Monday, August 1:  12:00p - 2:00p
Opening Plenary Event:  Re-Connect & Be Inspired Together

Speakers: Meghan Ashburn, Brian Kelmar, Brittney Lee, Jesse Monroe,

Kate Oppe, Catherine Rey

In our first session of convention, we’ll hit the ground running by sharing Successes in Advocacy and Listening and RECONNECTing with you!

Hear from advocates in Virginia about their successes in advocating for change, learn how they organized and what support they got along the way. Then tell us what barriers you are facing on the road to “A Life Like Yours”?  What barriers do you or your family face to getting services in Virginia? 

We’ll use what we learn from you to 1) update you on progress we are making along the way, and 2) help us shape legislative and programming priorities for the coming year. 

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Tuesday, August 2:  8:30a - 11:00a
Keynote Address: Investing in a Future Worth Creating

Keynote Address: Patti Scott, CEO at Neighbours International

For most people, health, happiness, and safety is built upon the choices we make about our relationships, and how we invest our resources of time, money, gifts, talents, and capacities, in pursuit of finding meaning and purpose — making a difference. 

For people identified with intellectual or developmental disabilities ‘choice’ has historically been limited by the structures and institutions designed to provide support. The results have been social isolation, few meaningful relationships, poverty, unemployment or underemployment, a revolving door of relationships with people who are paid to support them, and even neglect and abuse. 

Neighbours, Inc. was created 27 years ago, inspired by a search for ‘another way’ to support people, guided by people’s choice and control in pursuit of health, happiness, meaning, purpose, and citizenship. Neighbours has forged partnerships with people (and those who love them), that can enable them to have a full life in their own home, in the community where they choose to live; to direct their own supports and budget; to build a rich network of friends and allies; and to engage as citizens making contributions in the neighborhoods where they live and work. Over the years we have pursued this approach with anyone who choose us to work for them, regardless of the level of support they might need. This session will share stories, experiences, what we have learned, how we’ve sustained the work and invested in support staff, and the numerous possibilities that have opened up for people because of this approach.

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Virginia Housing Panel Discussion

Hope House Foundation, Our Stomping Ground, and The Arc of Southside

This panel will discuss what is happening in Virginia around innovative and individualized housing. Providers and people with disabilities will share how people of all abilities are receiving support to live their lives in their communities of choice, with services wrapped around them to help them to have A Life Like Yours.  

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Tuesday, August 2:  12:30p - 2:30p
Public Policy Luncheon:  A Focus on the Future

Speakers: Secretary John Littel, Deputy Secretary McKenzie Snow, Commissioner Nelson Smith, Director Cheryl Roberts and DOJ Attorney Kyle Smiddie

With a new Administration, comes a great deal of change. Often that potential for change causes people with disabilities and their families fears about what is to come and how those changes may impact their lives.  

Hear from Virginia's Leaders about Public Policy that shapes the Developmental Disability System in the Commonwealth and have an opportunity to ask questions and learn about key issues and initiatives that directly impact our lives.  

You will also hear from and have a chance to speak directly with the U.S. Department of Justice regarding where things stand with Virginia's Settlement Agreement, why it has not ended and what is next for building a robust community system for everyone in Virginia. 

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Wednesday, August 3:  10:15a - 12:00p
Re-Energize & Re-Imagine the DD Coalition

In this final discussion, we will review the insights shared by all of YOU from the Opening Plenary --- and consider how to use that information to form an agenda for the future.  We invite all past, current and potential DD Coalition partners to join the network of people who make up the ALLY movement -- to build a Stronger Voice Together. We will engage around the hard questions of a large movement that is diverse and broad in scope.