Joyce Rivers, A Wonderful Inspiration To Us All!
(Left to Right: Carol Grabbe, Joyce Rivers, and Genna Lewis)
A Wonderful Inspiration To Us All!
By: Genevieve M Lewis
Joyce Rivers was hired by the state of Connecticut in 1999 as the first Self Advocate Coordinator (originally called Consumer Advocate). She advocated for individuals and made her voice heard on topics related to the rights and contributions of individuals with disabilities.
Joyce was hired when the department was called DMR! She played a big part in assisting to change the name to DDS. Joyce used her beautiful smile, friendly nature and, especially, a strong voice of advocacy to inspire individuals and influence those she connected with. She was a leader in the department and an inspiration to us all. After 13 years of service and experiencing some health issues, Joyce retired. She left a team of Self Advocate Coordinators who learned from her and were inspired by her.
Fast forward to October 2016, at the Department of Developmental Services Recognition ceremony, Joyce and her team were presented with the Creativity and Innovation Award. Joyce found herself living in a nursing home to receive the care she required. This is NOT the way she wanted to live. She advocated, fiercely, for living in her own apartment as she always had in the past. Joyce and her team worked together with DDS to make sure she had the support she needed which made it possible for her to leave the nursing home. She now lives in her own apartment and is living a full and fun life! She continues to advocate for herself and others. She enjoys Zumba, movies and Broadway shows. She has a busy life! Her next goal is to vacation with her staff in Florida!
When asked what advice she would give to others she replied “Advocate for yourself- It’s a good thing! Speak up for your rights. Let your voice be heard! Don’t let people talk for you. You have your own voice!”
Joyce with her Staff Marqutta