We are our own organization!

Together, We Are a Self-Advocacy Group

Are you interested in self-advocacy?

Join us for a 9 month training program at the Center for Advocacy Leaders

Program Overview

  • Monthly sessions from September through May Participants learn how to advocate for ourselves
  • Hear from influential speakers, legislators, and professional advocates
  • Establish a speakers’ bureau with opportunities to present at a local, state, and national level

Center for Advocacy Leaders

Training Facilitated by Community Options and funded by the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities

What is self-advocacy, what it is not and what can it do for you?

What is self-advocacy?

  • Self-advocacy is about independent groups of people with all types of disabilities working together for justice.
  • We help each other take charge of our lives and fight discrimination.
  • It teaches us how to make decisions and choices that affect our lives.
  • We can be more independent. It teaches us about our rights, but along with learning about our rights, we learn what we have to do.
  • The way we learn about advocating is by helping each other gain confidence to speak out for what we believe in.

Beliefs, values, principles

  • We are people first
  • We have the right to choose the services we want
  • People with disabilities want to live in the community

Self-advocacy is not

  • A program or people sitting around complaining
  • Only for people who can talk
  • Keep everything the same
  • Putting yourself down

I Am a Self-Advocate!

  • I am a person.
  • I am more than just my disability.
  • I am valuable.
  • I matter just as much as anybody else does.
  • I can choose; I decide the services I want.
  • I Am a Self-Advocate!

Who is a self-advocate?

YOU are a self-advocate if you have ever spoken up for what you believe in.

YOU are a self-advocate if you have taken responsibility for your life in some way.

YOU are a self-advocate if you have ever questioned people’s expectations of you.

YOU are a self-advocate if you have ever joined a self-advocacy group and believe that the group’s work is going to make life better for people with disabilities.

Even if you have never done any of these things, you can become a self-advocate by getting involved.

Start today!!

Application Process

Applications will be reviewed and considered by a selection committee

If you are unable to access the online application, please contact


Community Options established the Self-Advocacy Group in 2016 for individuals from Bergen, Passaic, Morris, Sussex, and Essex counties. The group meets monthly to develop and empower every member to be a strong advocate for themselves and others. The group has now expanded so that all individuals in New Jersey can attend. The self-advocates make all decisions for their group including the topics that will be discussed, events, and projects the group takes part in. Staff advisors help facilitate and provide any needed supports.

During the COVID-19 pandemic the group has continued vital connections with one another by holding our monthly meetings via Zoom. In 2021, the focus area chosen by the self-advocates was “ensuring that we have great staff working with us.”

The Center for Advocacy Leaders was established in 2022 to train a new generation of self-advocates from across the State of New Jersey.

Additional resources upon special request.