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Willows Way Sponsors People First of Missouri Conference, Several Clients Attend

Willows Way clients Johanna, Victoria and Stacey were among the many attendees at the People First of Missouri (PFMO) 2017 Conference, April 21-23 in Osage Beach, MO.

PFMO is a statewide organization that promotes equality for people with disabilities so they can live the life they want in the community.

Willows Way was also a sponsor of the conference. Sponsorships, advertisers and exhibitors help to keep registration costs to the event affordable for self-advocates and provide a limited number of scholarships.

The three-day conference included breakout sessions, networking and featured speakers Julie Petty, founder of People First of Arkansas; Chuck Graham, Associate Director of the Great Plains ADA Center at the University of Missouri-Columbia and a former Missouri State Representative and Senator; and Christopher Worth, activist, community organizer, self-advocate and Team Manager at Paraquad.

Johanna, who is also an elected PFMO officer for the 2016-2017 term, said she found the featured speakers at this year's conference to be particularly interesting, and also talked about some of the great work that the PFMO is doing in the community.

"We educate the schools and the municipalities about people with disabilities. We go into schools with life-size puppets that have disabilities and educate the children about other children who have disabilities and how the individuals are just like them and they are people too, and can do the same things as their friends."

Johanna, who will celebrate her 50th birthday this year, has been a Willows Way client for over 20 years. She currently gives an orientation on "Rights and Responsibilities" to new Willows Way employees.

For more information about People First of Missouri, visit missouripeoplefirst.org.

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