International Conferences















KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – People First Nova Scotia is a wonderful self-advocacy group whose members believe that people with intellectual disabilities should live in their community, rather than being warehoused in large institutions.

Members of People First Nova Scotia (and the author) at the Windsor waterfront.

Members are keen to travel to to Florida to attend an international conference for self-advocates. The group has started a fundraising drive, and hopes to raise enough money to allow seven Nova Scotia chapter presidents and a summer student to make the trip in late October.

To find out more I joined several chapter presidents and members at the beautiful Windsor riverfront.

“I am really looking forward to going to the conference, because I want people to  to hear my voice,” says Leta Jarvis, president of the Truro chapter, and a survivor of five institutions in Nova Scotia.

Click here to read more





Help Self Advocates Be a Part of  Something Big!

People First NS members are raising funds to send some of their leaders to an international Conference for Self-Advocates in Florida in October. The goal is to send a member from each of the seven chapters across the province. A crowdfunding site has been started to raise money, as well as some other fundraising ideas.

The International Conference is for self advocates, citizens with intellectual disabilities, from across the world. They will come together to join the global conversation as people from all over the world share best practices, struggles, successes, and hopes for the future. The collective work is toward a common goal—to protect and promote the human rights for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

The conference will feature workshops and key note speakers from across the world as well as plenty of opportunities to network with each other.

Inclusion International is trying to help People First groups across the country to send members to this conference.

Please click on the link below, donate and send this link to all your friends. Help us be a Part of Something Big!


Tammy Mac

My name is Tammy Macmillan and I am thirty three years old. I graduated from high school and took a food service course at People Worxs. I also took an employment course this year to help me find a job.

One of my goals was to get married and I have been married for three years now! My dream is to stay married to my loving husband. Another one of my goals is to become a continuing care assistant so I can help elderly people. Every day I do cleaning around my apartment and go visit family. What I want to do in the future is to find a full time job and live happily for all of my days.

I have been a member of People First for 10 years, since 2006. I was an active member until 2011, When I became the vice president of the Kings chapter. In 2013 I became the treasurer for the local chapter and just recently in April of 2015 I became the President of the local chapter. What I like about People First is that it helps people speak for themselves and helps them stand up for their rights and freedoms. What I have learned is that there is a lot of responsibility to being the President of the local chapter and that it can be a lot of fun as well.


I am excited about the opportunity to go to the international conference for self -advocates in Florida in October because I think that it would be a great experience for me. I want to meet new people and make new friends and also share my story.




My Name is Evelyn Oatman. I have been involved with People First for 5 years. I currently hold the position of President for the Windsor Chapter of People First Nova Scotia. I am in my first year as President and in the past have held the Secretary position.

I became a member of People First because I enjoy meeting new people, sharing experiences, and exploring new and different things. But most importantly, it was to get our message out to people “that we are people first and foremost, and our disability does not define us”.

I would very much like to have the opportunity to attend the upcoming National Conference in Orlando Florida for a few reasons:

  • It would be a new experience for me, a place I have never been and may not have the opportunity to go again.
  • I would meet new people, form new friendships, share stories and info and make new contacts.
  • It would allow me to get new ideas to bring back to the members that I would be representing.

4)   It would help us eliminate restrictions boundaries and labels that have been put on us. It will help me learn about my rights and how to use different ideas to be a better advocate and tell others how to advocate for themselves.

Thank you,

Evelyn Oatman



My name is Leta Jarvis and I live in Truro, Nova Scotia. I am a survivor of five institutions in Nova Scotia and was first locked up in an institution when I was seven years old. I have been living out in the community successfully for 20 years. I am attending school and improving my reading and writing skills. I am looking at new volunteer ideas with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and a nursing home. I have been trying lots of new activities since I moved to this new community a few months ago. Last week I went to the beach for the first time!

I enjoy my work with People First. I have been a member for almost twenty years. I am president of the Truro chapter. I have learned from People First that I have a voice and can use it make positive change and I can live in my community successfully.

I have been helping with language presentations to grade sevens in the schools across Nova Scotia. We are presenting the “Importance of Language”, which teaches the children about Canadian Rights, Human Rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This is like the studies they are learning in school that year. We also present on not using the “R” word. I also present to different groups on my story and being a survivor of the system. I have given newspaper interviews and spoken at Legal Aid conferences on my story.

I am excited to travel to Florida to help other Self Advocates from around the world use their voice to make their lives better. I am excited about meeting people from other countries and comparing our stories. I want to get their names and talk to them on the computer when I come home. I have never been on an airplane before so that will be a new experience. I am excited to check it out.


jolene prom

My name is Jolene MacKenzie and I am twenty years old. I recently graduated high school and started working. I have a summer job at People First NS and I also work at the cafe at the Truro Community College.
I grew up in the People First movement – literally. I went to meetings and conferences as a child and played and did crafts while my mom and her members had leadership sessions and meetings. When I was eighteen I joined our local chapter and volunteer as the secretary. I want to help make a positive change in people’s lives and in the world. I want to make a difference and help people with intellectual disabilities find their voice and follow their dreams! I also want to travel. Some places I would like to visit in the future are Hawaii, Los Angeles and Australia. I travelled to Quebec this spring for a concert and am looking for other opportunities. I just got my passport.
I am excited about the opportunity to go to the international conference for Self Advocates in Florida in October. I want to meet new people, make new friends and share my story.