Voices of Support and Change: Vice President Carlton

By Sara Porcaro | March 23, 2018

Working beside every great president is an equally dedicated vice president, ensuring that a long day's work goes smoothly. From helping conduct meetings to implementing new strategies, and ways to carry them out, having two sets of hands on deck makes all the difference for countless organizations. And for Perspectives on Self Advocacy, that essential second-in-command is none other than Vice President Carlton.

As one of the original members of the group, Carlton has been an active participant in Perspectives on Self Advocacy since 2015. Before then, Carlton attended a series of Trauma Informed Care seminars, which provided education on a new approach to supports. It was these seminars that inspired Carlton to join a self-advocacy group, coincidentally right as his current group was being formed.

Between 2015 and now, as the group has developed, Carlton has been happy to take on more responsibility. His original position among other group Board Members was the assistant treasurer. But as the group grew, bringing the introduction of bylaws and a more complex organizational structure, Carlton stepped up to the plate, and was elected vice president.

"I deal with the smaller organizational parts of things we do, like events and meetings, to make sure all the details are all set," says Carlton on his duties, "and I fill in for Beth when she's not able to attend meetings."

Throughout his time with the group, this responsibility, and the group itself, have provided Carlton with the opportunity, information, and resources to grow his power of self-advocacy in the company of the like-minded friends he's made there. No place is better to boost one's confidence than one where everyone supports and listens to each other, and Carlton agrees.

"It's made it easier to talk to Sheila, my Shared Living Arrangements provider," says Carlton, "and I have more confidence in my everyday life, like my job, to speak up when I want to."

Carlton has also attended hearings at the State House for parents of individuals with disabilities, and has reached out to the Rhode Island Disability Law Center for assistance when he needed it. All this, Carlton has balanced with his work at the Tractor Supply Company, as well as his daily life with his SLA family--and he loves every minute of it.

Carlton says that Perspectives on Self Advocacy is "a good group," and he notes, "I've got a good feeling about its future. Anyone looking to join a self-advocacy group should definitely check it out."

With all the activity that the group has seen, and all the goals for its future, Carlton's work as vice president is essential. He, and his great team at the self-advocacy group, let their passion and persistence shine through their hard work--a sure sign that the group's future is, indeed, a bright one.