Hello My name is Gerry Juzenas and I am proud to say that I am a Self Advocate.
I have been involved with the self-advocate movement for over 40 years!! Boy have I seen changes.
The first organization that I become involved with was called Burnaby Peoples First in 1975.
In 1989 I also become involved with the Lower Mainland Base Services Society and I was involved with them for ten years, even serving as the Vice President of the organization.
I was also involved with the Self Advocate Caucus and I did so well that I was elected to four terms as a board member which spanned 8 years.
I continue to be involved organizations that are still providing services to this day, such as the Simon Fraser Society for community inclusion
and Burnaby Association of Community Inclusion (BACI).
One of the most important things that I got to participate in with these organizations were the conferences! More than once I got to go to Portland Oregon.
I have attended other conferences where people came from all over the province.
This is what I would like to pass on to the younger generation.
If given the opportunity to go to a meeting – Take it!! There are many things that you can learn about advocacy and things that change people’s lives.
You can even work together to make government accountable – I have been involved with the helping people coming out of Woodlands Institutions and fighting to get our bus passes. Conferences are also a good way to learn how to become a leader.
You have to be responsible and can learn about various organizations and how they operate. Most importantly, you get to meet very nice people who can often become your friends.
For the future, I am looking forward to I plan to retire from some of my advocacy efforts and focus on my social life.
I can now relax and watch a movie. I am really enjoying taking the time to make a nice meal because you have to take care of yourself.
If you want to can come to my work at BACI I could tell you about some of the things that I have been involved with
and how to participate in other activities like being in sports, getting involved in church, or just having coffee with someone.
If just stay at home, people with just get depressed. So drop by and say hello!
Story by Gerry Juzenas