Advocacy Support Unit

​Who we are:

The Director of Advocacy Supports and the regional advocacy specialists are self-advocates. Advocating for ourselves and others, we can support people who receive DDA services to get the supports they want and need.
 

What we do:

Regional Advocacy Specialists

  • Build relationships with self-advocates, self-advocacy groups and providers
  • Support other self-advocates to learn about and understand DDA services
  • Coordinate and conduct a seven week training with a group of Self-Advocates
  • Provide general support to people receiving services from DDA
  • Develop and conduct additional training that meets the needs of Self-Advocates in their regions
 

What we offer:

In response to feedback from self-advocates, we will offer training on topics that people need. To ensure all self-advocates statewide receive the same information, at least one training will take place in each region every quarter. Self-advocates are encouraged to contact the regional advocacy specialists for support for any individual issue about DDA.
  • Do you understand how your IP is written?
  • Do you want to know how to get different or more services from DDA?
  • Do you want someone to explain DDA processes in terms that make sense to you?
  • Do you just need support to fill out DDA paperwork?
 
To get answers and support: We, the regional advocacy specialists are here to assist.
 

Meet the Team:

Jessica Stine is the Western Maryland Regional Advocacy Specialist. As a vision-impaired person, Jessica uses adaptive technology and braille. She graduated with an associate degree in general studies and earned a paralegal certificate. Jessica helped start an advocacy group. She is the recipient of the SelfAdvocate of the Year Award and Award for Using Technology in the workplace. She brings determination, strength, and compassion in supporting people who access disabilities services.  

Nicole LeBlanc is the Southern Maryland Regional Advocacy Specialist. She specializes in public policy and excels at communicating the needs of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to public officials. She has presented keynotes on the dignity of risk at statewide self-advocacy conferences. In 2017, Leblanc was a Paul Marchand Public Policy Intern at the Association of University Centers on Disabilities.
 
Cheryl Gottlieb is the Central Maryland Regional Advocacy Specialist. She began her career in advocacy as a high school student when she participated in a countywide self-advocacy program offered by her school system. Cheryl has an associate degree in general studies. Cheryl’s passion for disability rights includes meet the Teamcoordinating awareness events for youth, training community professionals, and advocating for state and federal legislation to help people with disabilities to live in their own homes. She previously worked for Our Own, Inc. of Baltimore facilitating peer support groups for people with psychiatric disabilities.  
 
Cody Drinkwater is the Eastern Shore Regional Advocacy Specialist. He has a bachelor’s degree from Towson University in history with a minor in English. He previously worked for the Wicomico County Public School System. In addition to his role at the DDA, he assists with the Homework Help Program at the Wicomico County Public Library and is a freelance writer with a local newspaper.

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