In honor of Developmental Disability Awareness Month, several community partners are hosting guest speaker Invanova Smith and screening of documentary film “Intelligent Lives” starting at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 23, at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 301 Lopez Ave., Port Angeles.
All activities are free and open to the public; doors open at 12:30 p.m.
The church joins partners Clallam County Health and Human Services, Clallam Mosaic, Concerned Citizens, the Developmental Disabilities Administration and Morningside in hosting the event.
The program begins with Smith, a member of the University of Washington LEND self-advocacy faculty, a wife, a mother and individual with autism. After leaving public school and experiencing both physical and verbal abuse at her first job, Smith — with the support and advocacy of her adoptive mother — attended community college transferring to Central Washington University, where she earned a degree in history.
“At my first job I experienced abuse, cursing at me all the time, and physical abuse,” said Smith. “I did not want this to happen to anyone else, anyone with developmental disabilities. So I took the skills I learned and decided to change things.”
During her time at CWU, Smith discovered she had a passion for activism and self-advocacy. Now through her work, and her podcasts, she advocates for individuals with developmental disabilities at the state level.
“We need to be part of the discussions and decision making processes for how we get care services,” Smith said, “how we get support in the community, how we get a job in the community, how we get to even live in the community.”
At 2:30 p.m., is the screening “Intelligent Lives,” created by award-winning filmmaker Dan Habib. The documentary film stars three pioneering young American adults with intellectual disabilities — Micah, Niaeer and Naomie — who challenge perceptions of intelligence as they navigate high school, college and the workforce.
Following the film, at 3:45 p.m., is a panel discussion featuring Smith along with local voices, self-advocates and family members of individuals with developmental disabilities.
The afternoon ends with an ice cream social.
On display throughout Holy Trinity Lutheran Church will be artwork created by participants of Clallam Mosaic.
Smith’s podcasts can be viewed on YouTube and found at www.informingfamilies.org/category/videos.
Learn more about the film “Intelligent Lives” at intel ligentlives.org.
For more information about Developmental Disability Awareness Day or about developmental disabilities, visit www.clallam mosaic.org.