Local LGBTQ Advocacy Group Honored By Self-Advocacy Association of New York

September 26, 2016 | Press

Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, Inc. (FREE) is proud to announce that FREE To BE, FREE’s LGBTQ advocacy group, was presented with the Self-Advocacy Group of the Year Award on Friday, September 9th, 2016 at the Self-Advocacy Association of New York’s (SANYS) annual state conference. FREE To BE’s mission is to provide a welcoming and safe world for LGBTQ individuals and allies of all abilities by increasing awareness, education, support and advocacy. Their motto is, “We ARE…therefore FREE To BE.”


“We are proud of the work being done by FREE to BE and are thrilled that the SANYS has recognized that work by naming them the 2016 Self-Advocacy Group of the Year,” said Robert S. Budd, CEO, FREE.


FREE co-hosted the first LGBTQ and Allies Meet and Greet on Thursday, September 8th, the first day of the conference, with Pamela Boyle, AHRC Sexuality and Socialization Specialist and FREE To BE member, Matthew Kuriloff, East End Disability Associates (EEDA) Manager of Development and Public Relations and FREE To BE member, Claire Miller, FREE Advocacy Coordinator and FREE To BE facilitator and self- advocates from around the state. On Friday, September 9th, FREE co-facilitated the first Gay-Straight Alliance Workshop to be presented at the Statewide SANYS Conference. Presenters at the workshop included Claire Miller, Matthew Kuriloff, Clint Perrin, SANYS Director of Policy and FREE self-advocates: Dennis Murphy, President of FREE To BE, Monique Medina, Hospitality Chairperson of FREE To BE and EEDA self- advocate Christine Barker, President of EEDA’s Self-Advocacy group. The New York State Developmental Disabilities Council was present at the workshop and continues to be very supportive of growing Gay-Straight Alliances (GSA’s) statewide. The workshop was full and participants engaged in a lively discussion of next steps in further expansion of LGBTQ advocacy throughout the state.


To learn more about FREE To BE or to become a member, email us freetobe@familyres.org.


For more information on how to get involved in SANYS statewide or SANYS Long Island region, please visit www.sanys.org.


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