Advocacy Network

 

NEW YORK STATEWIDE SYSTEMS ADVOCACY NETWORK

Background

The New York Statewide Systems Advocacy Network (SSAN) is a project that was originally prioritized in the New York Statewide Plan for Independent Living (SPIL) for 2002-2004. The SPIL plans are created every three years by the New York State Independent Living Council to enable the state to accomplish independent living objectives. Each SPIL plan is submitted to the federal Administration on Community Living (ACL) for approval.

Purpose

The Statewide Systems Advocacy Network (SSAN) is made up of hundreds of individuals across New York State working together to improve the quality of life for individuals with disabilities. The SSAN employs a variety of strategies and methods designed to achieve a barrier free, fully inclusive society for everyone, especially individuals with disabilities.

The SSAN consists of a group of volunteers who stand “at the ready” whenever their help is needed. Usually assistance is requested to support or oppose a piece of legislation or a local issue that will impact the lives of individuals with disabilities. When this happens, the network is asked to respond in one or more of a variety of ways such as:

  • Contact legislators by phone, fax and/or email
  • Write a letter to the editor in support of or opposition to a legislative issue
  • Provide oral and/or written testimony on a given topic
  • Participate in voter registration drives, voter pledge drives and/or get out the vote campaigns

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Resources

About our Systems Advocate
KEITH GURGUI

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Keith Gurgui is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz where he holds a Bachelors of Liberal Arts in Political Science. Keith was born and raised in Lake Katrine and graduated from Kingston High School in 2009. In August of that year, while on vacation in Delaware, Keith suffered a spinal cord injury while swimming in Bethany Beach. Immediately after his injury, Keith spent several weeks in the ICU after which time he was transferred to Helen Hayes Hospital where he underwent intense rehabilitation for over five months. During and after his rehabilitation Keith learned to use assistive technology in order to communicate on the computer as well as control different electronic devices in his home. In May of 2011, Keith began working at RCAL, as the Systems Advocate until 2016 after which time he left to continue and finish his bachelor’s degree. Keith served on the Board of the New York State Independent Living Council from 2015 to 2017 and currently serves on the Board of the New York State Spinal Cord Injury Research Program, after first being appointed by the state legislature in 2012. Keith returned to RCAL as Systems Advocate in late November of 2019. In his free time, Keith enjoys watching movies, reading, listening to comedy and different podcasts, as well as enjoying nature and the outdoors.

For more information regarding the Advocacy Network, please contact Alex Thompson at 845-331-0541, x 37.

Read the article “From Injury to Employment” written by Keith Gurgui, former Systems Advocate.

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