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Self-advocacy group “New Day” celebrates its 20th anniversary

New Day celebrates milestone

A local organization that helps people with intellectual disabilities advocate for themselves celebrated a milestone anniversary over the weekend.


New Day – Leaders of Today is marking their 20th anniversary this year with the organization being a self-advocacy group for those with intellectual disabilities. It operates under the umbrella of Community Living Essex County (CLEC) but has its own board of directors and runs its own meetings and initiatives.


Brianne Taggart, New Day's current president, said she felt “amazing” to have the organization reach the milestone.


“It's a remarkable achievement as New Day is celebrating 20 years of advocacy,” said Taggart. “We are all so proud of the work New Day does.”

Taggart noted the partnership with CLEC and said CLEC “assists in so many different ways.” She said New Day is pleased with the advocacy work they have done over the past two decades and they have given people with disabilities a voice both locally and provincially.


“I'm so proud of what we've accomplished,” she said. “We are doing a lot of good work. Advocacy is so important.”


Beth Renaud, a member of New Day's board, also pointed out how happy they were with the work the organization has done. She expressed gratitude to everyone that came out to Saturday night's event at the Columbian Club Hall in McGregor.


CLEC executive director Karen Bolger called it “a wonderful milestone” for New Day.


“Without a doubt, Community Living Essex County has benefitted from our partnership with New Day,” said Bolger.


Bolger said 20 years ago, people the agency supported looked for a way to join together to learn, share, contribute and advocate for themselves and others with an intellectual disability.


“They proposed the development of a group called New Day and, as they say, the rest is history,” she said. “That history includes so many great accomplishments. Among other things, they have a very strong mission statement, a Bill of Rights, and continue their meaningful participation on agency committees, task groups and on the board of directors. The board appreciates the monthly New Day reports provided and presented by the board director, who is also a New Day member.”


New Day also raises its own funds, she said, and are active in presentations to increase awareness. They also frequently organize events and educational opportunities for its membership.


“And that's just the tip of the iceberg,” Bolger stated. “The executive committee and members of New Day are active, involved, engaged and making a difference in the lives of people supported and in the agencies work. Their input is sought after and counted on as a valuable resource to the agency.”

Bolger added New Day's impact is not just in Essex County, but across the province.


“They have developed partnerships with other self-advocate groups and actively participate in advocacy work across the province.”


Retired CLEC executive director Nancy Wallace-Gero brought her own congratulations to New Day, stating they are succeeding in their advocacy work. She recalled work with self-advocates in the past, noting one such example being helping to change the name of the organization.


New Day's leadership both past and present have done important work, Wallace-Gero added. Doors have been opened for those with intellectual disabilities because of that work, she added.

“New Day has accomplished so much and made changes for the better, Wallace-Gero stated.

Wallace-Gero said despite the work, “there is so much more that needs to be done.”

“Keep being champions for change,” she urged.


Diane Bourbeau, a director with CLEC's board of director, brought greetings on behalf of the board. She noted the board has seen the growth of New Day and “your increasing and very meaningful impact over the years.”


Bourbeau added the board is happy with the partnership with New Day and are proud of the work New Day does.


“Your commitment and advocacy make a difference and inspire possibilities,” Bourbeau told New Day members. “Thank you, well done and congratulations on your 20th anniversary.”

Self-advocacy group “New Day” celebrates its 20th anniversary

By Ron Giofu

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