By Lisa Capobianco
From dancers to joke tellers to singers to skits, A New Way Self-Advocacy Group will light up the stage with humor, passion and hard work during its first fundraiser called “Music of the Night”—a variety show.
A New Way is a chapter of People First CT that helps individuals with disabilities better themselves in today’s challenging world.
Established in 1983, People First CT is a legal nonprofit corporation that educates the public about individuals with disabilities and also educates individuals with disabilities about their rights, according to its website. People First has advocated for the right for meaningful jobs as well as more independence, expanding self-determination.
Currently, A New Way has 20 members who meet once a month at the Arc of Southington, which sponsors the self-advocacy group. Together they create ideas on a variety of activities they would like to accomplish including holiday gatherings and trips, etc. Last year they also took part in a presentation during a People First conference, interacting with the audience and asking questions. Members used characters from “The Wizard of Oz” as metaphors to show others that even though they are different they can still create their own ideas.
“I think it gives them the opportunity to be heard, to make their own decisions,” said Sandy Amato, the CEO of the Arc of Southington who also serves as an advisor to the self-advocacy group. “It’s also social—the social piece is also very important.”
Amato also said she hopes the upcoming fundraiser will not only inform the public about A New Way itself, but also give its members an opportunity to express themselves as members of the community.
“It allows them to be themselves and shows people they too can be a part of the community and they can be equal to everyone else,” said Amato.
The variety show will take place on Friday, Feb. 21 at Plantsville Congregational Church from 6 to 8 p.m. Tickets cost $10 per person and can be purchased in advance by calling the Arc of Southington at (860) 628-9220 or at the door.