How You Can Help

Advocacy Opportunities:

In addition to personal advocacy for your own needs, maybe you would want the satisfaction of advocating for all persons with disabilities. There are many things you can do to bring your message to influence others to make them want to meet the needs of the disabled.

  •  Keep abreast on disability issues in the media
  •  Talk with your friends, family and business associates about disability issues
  •  Write letters to the newspaper on articles that address disability issues
  •  Call or write your city officials here or your state officials and legislators here
  •  Add comments to internet articles or blogs referencing disability issues
  • Use social media to call attention to disability issues
  • Call in when talk shows address disability issues
  • Attend public meetings and speak up
  • Join up with an organization’s group testifying at the state house or city council
  • Join your local disability commission
  • Become a community access volunteer
  • Participate in fundraisers by the various disability organizations – they always get great press!

The following organizations are involved in advocacy for the disabled:

Disability Policy Consortium: A Massachusetts organization. From their website: “The Disability Policy Consortium educates, connects, and organizes people with disabilities to participate in the electoral and legislative processes, to become active in their communities, and to advocate for justice and equality.” They have a weekly newsletter telling about issues and advocacy opportunities. Sign up on their site.

Many of the disease specific organizations listed under our service pages have opportunities for advocacy and for participating in fundraising.

If you know of any other advocacy opportunities, please let us know so we can publicize them. Thanks!

Become A Member:

The Methuen Commission on Disabilities is always looking for members who are active in its cause. Appointments to the commission shall be made to the mayor, subject to approval by the city council, for a term of three years. If you are interested in joining us, complete the Mayor’s talent bank application, specifying this commission, and return it to the mayor’s office. Talent bank applications are available here.

Obligations:

Attend monthly meetings and bring suggestions to the table to help provide better services and programs for the disabled in our community. Be willing to work on projects between meetings, including attending city meetings, contacting the mayor’s office, and other city official and boards, researching, and making outreach to the community.

Qualifications:

A majority of the members of the commission shall consist of people with disabilities. One member shall be a member of an immediate family of a person with a disability and one member shall be either an elected or appointed official of the city of Methuen. The remainder may be appointed from the city at large.

Community Access Volunteers:

Since the creation of the Community Access Monitor Project in 1985, approximately 12,000 people have been trained by the Massachusetts Office on Disability to survey buildings for accessibility and to advocate for compliance. Over 2,000 people have been certified as Community Access Monitors.

Initially, the Community Access Monitor Project emphasized the enforcement of the Architectural Access Board's Rules and Regulations. Now, with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act in effect, requirements for access have broadened to include communication and programmatic as well as architectural accessibility. As the scope of accessibility legislation has broadened, so has the role of the Community Access Monitor.

The Role of the Community Access Monitor

Community Access Monitors play an essential role in encouraging access improvements. While they do not have legal enforcement authority, monitors have proven to be highly effective advocates. Monitors are a full partner in the implementation process by coordinating advocacy efforts with municipal disability commissions, Independent Living Centers, ADA Coordinators, building inspectors, and others.

Being a Community Access Monitor requires knowledge of access laws and regulations, understanding of the range of organizations that have responsibilities under both state and federal regulations, skill in  surveying and advocacy, and the ability to be persuasive and persistent. Through the training program, you will gain the knowledge and skills you need to become an effective accessibility advocate. The training schedule for the current year is available here.

If there are questions, or you are interested in attending an upcoming training, please feel free to contact Jeffrey Dougan at (800) 322-2020 extension 27316 or click here to email him.

If you are intending to attend or have completed the course, please contact the Commission by emailing John Molori in the Mayor's Office. We can put that knowledge to work helping the disabled in our community. Thanks.