https://www.ispeech.org

What is the Rights Group?

About Vita Rights

News

Become a Member

Bill of Rights

Become a Member
(Support Services)

Join VITA’S RIGHTS GROUP

Contact

What is the Rights Group?

Do you have questions? Here are some answers...

The Rights Group meets to discuss issues regarding living with a disability and the inherent rights that people with disabilities are entitled to.

- What does help for the group look like?
  • We have 2 helpers in each meeting.
  • Help to set up our meetings
  • Help to support the elected positions
  • Helpers help the rights group members in the meetings when they need help
- How is the Rights Group involved with VITA’s Board of Directors?

We have a member on the Board of Directors at VITA.

- How do we make sure everyone feels safe?
  • We have group rules.
  • We follow them each time we go to the Rights Group.
  • We have these rules to make each person feel comfortable. Like if a person has
    trouble with food we have a rule about that.
- The Rights Group Guidelines:
  • One person at a time will talk
  • No side talking
  • No interrupting each other
  • Do your best to be on time at 6:45pm. Respect the Rights Group meetings. Come in quietly. If you can say sorry for being late.
  • Respect other people’s rights
  • What happens in the group stays in the group
  • Don’t make it personal
  • Stay focused on topics that are being discussed
  • Help other people to follow the guidelines!
  • No food or drink will be brought in to the meeting. There will be cookies and one can of diet pop. This is to help people who worry about food be a part of the meeting.
  • Please do not use your cell phone unless it is an emergency.
  • Please turn it on silent
- Where do we meet?

VITA’s Rights Group meets regularly to discuss issues regarding living with a disability and the inherent rights to which people with disabilities are entitled. The Group provides input and feedback to VITA, and reports directly through VITA’s Executive Director to the Board.

In 2018, we opened new, dedicated office space for VITA’s Rights Group in recognition of the Group’s many valuable contributions to VITA over the years.

Office Location:
VITA Head Office
1st Floor
4301 Weston Rd.
Toronto, ON
M9L 2Y3

  • A group, we get together a bunch of us and talk about rights.
  • People that have an intellectual disability
  • To teach people about our disabilities
  • We want to teach people what we CAN DO. This makes us feel really excited!
  • We are a loud group but we are a private group because what we talk about stays in the group.
  • We would like the near future to change a little bit.
  • We would like people with disabilities to have a chance to work, to get paid, to be loved, to be respected and to get out in the community and to have this be easier.

Our Members

We are people working for people

Since 1988, people with disabilities have been advocating “people first” language that puts the “person” before the “disability” to ensure that language used regarding disability is inclusive and respectful.

Keywords

Development Disabilities

A developmental disability is present at birth or develops before 18 years of age. Intellectual disability is a subset of developmental disability. An intellectual disability affects a person’s ability to learn. VITA serves people with intellectual disabilities.

Dual Diagnosis

People with developmental and intellectual disabilities can experience mental health problems, thus they have a dual diagnosis.

Chronic Mental Illness

People with serious mental illness are significantly affected by the illness for an indefinite period. Beyond the illness, their lives are compounded by stigma.

What’s most important to realize is that regardless of diagnosis, people are people, and all people do well when they are welcomed, supported and given opportunities to succeed.

How do we make sure everyone feels safe?

  • We have group rules.
  • We follow them each time we go to the Rights Group.
  • We have these rules to make each person feel comfortable. Like if a person has trouble with food we have a rule about that.
  • Here are our rules:

The Rights Group Guidelines

  1. One person at a time will talk
  2. No side talking
  3. No interrupting each other
  4. Do your best to be on time at 6:45pm. Respect the Rights Group meetings. Come in quietly. If you can say sorry for being late.
  5. Respect other people’s rights
  6. What happens in the group stays in the group
  7. Don’t make it personal
  8. Stay focused on topics that are being discussed
  9. Help other people to follow the guidelines!
  10. No food or drink will be brought in to the meeting. There will be cookies and one can of diet pop. This is to help people who worry about food be a part of the meeting.
  11. Please do not use your cell phone unless it is an emergency. Please turn it on silent

What does help for the group look like?

We have 2 helpers in each meeting.

  • Help to set up our meetings
  • Help to support the elected positions
  • Helpers help the rights group members in the meetings when they need help

How do members help run the group?

  • We have elections every 2 years. Here are our elected members and what their jobs are:

Sean Simone

Role and responsibilities

  • This person sets up the Agenda and runs the meetings.
  • This person will need to come at 6pm to work on the agenda with the helpers.
  • This person makes sure everyone understands what is being said at the meeting and what is being voted on.
  • This person makes sure that all opinions are heard and that everyone is treated fairly.
  • They call for votes on issues discussed at the meetings and give the members the voting results.

Amelia Sarra

Role and responsibilities

  • This person will need to come at 6pm to help the President with the agenda.
  • This person assists the President with setting up the agenda for each Right’s Group meeting.
  • Will take the place of the President if they can not attend a meeting.

Matt Caratozzolo

Role and responsibilities

  • This person manages all money for the group.
  • They will meet with staff before each group to review finances.
  • They will keep all receipts.
  • They will give regular reports to the group about what has been spent, how much money we have and what we need.

Andrew Lewis

  • This person will sit on the Learning You Committee. They will attend all meetings.
  • They will report information back to the group in writing about the committee meetings at the next Right’s Group meeting.

Carol Gismondi

  • This person will come at 6pm to check emails and voice mail.
  • This person will manage the email account and voice mail.
  • This person is responsible for organizing the paperwork in the office.

Maria Katsiampas

  • This person will attend the Vita Board of Directors Meetings
  • They will provide updates from the Rights Group to the Board of Directors
  • They will provide the Rights Group with an update from the board meetings

Andrew Kestenbaum

  • Calls group members to remind everyone about upcoming rights group meetings.
  • Calls group member to inform them of any cancelled meetings.
  • Calls group members to inform and remind group members of special events like car washes, fundraisers, projects related to the Rights Group.

How is the Rights Group involved with Vita’s Board of Directors?

  • We have a member on the Board of Directors at Vita.

What does Maria have to say about being on the board?

  • “I attend meetings every 4 months and I give an update on the Rights Group and what we are working on”
  • “I like it and it is a lot of fun. You get to meet people”
  • “I listen to what the board members have to say and new stuff. I report it back to the Rights Group”

What else have we worked on?

We wrote a letter for staff in 2006 about not being called clients but members instead. By sending this letter we started to change Vita. No one uses the word client anymore. Members started helping Vita more like we are part of new staff orientations, we help interview staff, we give our opinions to the head office about how things should run. The letter was the first step to get more involved with Vita. Here is the letter:

Vita Rights Group

CAPABILITY RESPECT HUMANITY INDEPENDENCE

"We are writing this letter to you stating that we think that the word client shouldn't be used anymore. Most of us feel that our self esteem is low. Some of us feel rejected when people call us clients. We are people like everybody else. We are not your business associates.

That's why we shouldn't be called clients!

We would like to be called MEMBERS because we want to feel like we are a part of something important in today's society.

We need to see this change on all documents and in the general language of the agency.

We understand that it will take some time for this process. We will be patient but we expect it to happen.

Manuela Dalla-Nora and the Board fully support this decision.

Thank you very much. We appreciate you making these changes."

CAR WASH - (Needs Updating)

We can get your car or van sparkling clean!
Where: TYCOS day program at 102 TYCOS drive
Cost: We work for cash donations
Day: THURSDAY AUGUST 14, 2014
Time: Between 10:00AM and 3:00PM
HELP MAKE THINGS BETTER FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES.
We the RIGHTS GROUP will use the mony earned to get Education, GO to ADVOCACY CONFERENCES, TO hold meetings and buy supplies.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT
Rain date THURSDAY AUGUST 28TH 10:00AM-3:00PM

Rights Group Update - May 2013 + Events.

  • Our Annual Planning Day is coming up to decide what we work on this year
  • We have prizes on Annual Planning Day
  • We plan to do fundraising-car washes and the holiday party raffle
  • We have elections every two years
  • We participate in conferences
  • We have visits from the Vita Board three times a year
  • We are looking for two new helpers and we help with the interviews and hiring
  • We have the Bill of Rights
  • We did a Gossip Policy on how to stop it
  • We attended Information Fairs
  • We helped update VITA's website
  • We signed an ODSP Petition
  • We voted on a new treasurer
  • We did Raffle at the holiday party to raise money
  • We check and respond to emails
  • We got a phone and check messages
  • We voted to get business cards
  • We present the Bill of Rights to new employees
  • We have a member attend Board Meeting and tell them what is new with the Rights Group and she listens to them

Why do we use the term ‘Members’ when referring to the people we serve?

In 2006, VITA initiated a self-advocate group. The group wrote a letter for staff about not being called clients but members instead. No one uses the word client anymore. Members started helping VITA more. They are part of new staff orientations, they help interview staff, they give their opinions to the head office about how things should run. The letter was the first step to get more involved with VITA.

Click here to learn more about the self-advocate groups

VITA RIGHTS Group Capability Respect Humanity Independence

"We are writing this letter to you stating that we think that the word client shouldn't be used anymore. Most of us feel that our self-esteem is low. Some of us feel rejected when people call us clients. We are people like everybody else. We are not your business associates. That's why we shouldn't be called clients! We would like to be called MEMBERS because we want to feel like we are a part of something important in today's society. We need to see this change on all documents and in the general language of the agency. We understand that it will take some time for this process. We will be patient, but we expect it to happen. Manuela Dalla-Nora and the Board fully support this decision. Thank you very much. We appreciate you making these changes."

If you want to join the Rights Group what do you do?

Become a part of Vita! Check out the rest of the Vita website for information about how to do that.

If you are not a part of Vita but want to go to a group like the Rights Group there is a group in downtown Toronto that meets once a month at a community centre. For information call Ann LeBlanc at 416 749-6234 ext 216.
It's pretty easy!

Vita Member's Bill of Rights

As members, we have the right to...
  1. The right to make a decision and change your mind.
  2. The right to learn about personal power and how to use it every day.
  3. The right to express all of our feelings.
  4. The right to say what's on your mind and to disagree with staff, therapists, etc.
  5. The right to work
  6. The right to get paid.
  7. The right to go to the community and prove that you are able to; the right to review restrictions on access to the community.
  8. The right to tell the truth in court when a crime has been committed against us.
  9. The right to spend our money as we choose.
  10. The right to watch what we want on TV.
  11. The right to be part of the discussion as to where we live.
  12. The right to choices.
  13. The right to be treated respectfully by staff.
  14. The right to relationships: friends, husbands/wives, boyfriends/girlfriends.
  15. The right to be treated respectfully in the community.
  16. The right to call the police when we're being threatened (unless it is a treatment issue).
  17. The right to be treated equally.
  18. The right to have our decisions respected and backed by VITA. If necessary, a meeting with our family will be held.
  19. The right to visit family.
  20. The right to stay up at night.
  21. The right to shelter.
  22. The right to an education.
  23. The right to treatment.
  24. The right to privacy.
  25. The right to attend scheduled activities.

Become a Member (Support Services)

Support Services - This is where it all begins!

Our Support Services Team is VITA’s ambassadors; they are typically the first contact with
new members and their families. We connect and collaborate with families, members and the developmental services sector to ensure that individuals and their families receive the
appropriate support.

We provide services and supports for members who need to manage their diagnosis, learn new skills and participate more fully in the community. We aim to either provide a service or refer a service that best fits your needs. Finding the right service can be daunting for individuals and their families; at VITA, we can help navigate Ontario's Developmental Services System.

1. Reach out to us:

Contact our VITA’s Support Services Department. Our team will be ready to assist you how to navigate through the application process. There are many ways you can get this information—over the phone, during a face-to-face meeting with one of our team members, through our newsletters or through our website.

Contact Information:

Phone Number: 416 749-6234

Hours: Monday to Friday 8:30am - 4:30pm. *except for holidays

Email: supportservice@vitacls.org

2. Talk to us:

Tell us what you need: learning, day support, home support, therapy or something else. Our team is composed of highly trained and experienced people who can provide you with information about:

  • Assessment Processes
  • Community programs
  • Residential services and supports that help adults with developmental disabilities, dual diagnosis, and chronic mental illness meet their needs.

3. Outcome:

As a result of our conversation, our team should have provided guidance on the following:

  • The most recommended service and/or support for you and your family.
  • Next steps of the intake process

Join VITA'S RIGHTS Group

If you would like to get in touch with Rights Group members?

It’s pretty easy! To join our events, programs and services, contact us:
Email: rightsgroup@vitacls.org
Phone: 416-645-0557

If you are not a part of VITA but want to go to a group like the Rights Group, there is a group in downtown Toronto that meets once a month at a community centre.

For information contact April Whynott at 416-749-6234 or send her an email at awhynott@vitacls.org

Where do we meet?

VITA’s Rights Group meets regularly to discuss issues regarding living with a disability and the inherent rights to which people with disabilities are entitled. The Group provides input and feedback to VITA, and reports directly through VITA’s Executive Director to the Board.

In 2018, we opened new, dedicated office space for VITA’s Rights Group in recognition of the Group’s many valuable contributions to VITA over the years.

Office Location:
VITA Head Office
1st Floor
4301 Weston Rd.
Toronto, ON
M9L 2Y3

Contact

If you would like to get in touch with Rights Group members?

Email: rightsgroup@vitacls.org

Phone: 416-645-0557