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The New Jersey Self-Advocacy Project

New Jersey Statewide Self Advocacy Network (NJSSAN)

About the NJSSAN

The New Jersey Statewide Self-Advocacy Network (NJSSAN) is made up of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) throughout the state. The NJSSAN is used as means of supporting positive change on both a personal and social level. It consists of five Councils based on geographic location within the state.

The regional Councils meet on a monthly basis and are open and free to all individuals with I/DD.  To see the location and meeting dates of each regional Council, please take a look at our calendar displayed below. The New Jersey Self-Advocacy Project team collaborates with the Council leadership to create an agenda based on what the self-advocates wish to discuss.  The NJSSAN Council meetings are a chance for advocates to voice their perspective, learn about issues impact their lives and the lives of other people with I/DD, socialize, and to develop strong advocacy skills. 

NJSSAN members regularly testify at hearings and provide policy recommendations, as well as plan and coordinate education and awareness events such as their annual Disability Awareness Month Awareness Event at the State House in Trenton.  They write letters to people of prominence and elected officials applauding decisions or weighing in on issues.  Advocates give input on many of the Division of Developmental Disabilities policy issues that affect their lives.  In July, the NJSSAN hosts their annual awareness event to celebrate The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Self-advocates speak with beach-goers on the Point Pleasant Boardwalk about the importance and meaning of The ADA. NJSSAN leadership work collaboratively with the New Jersey Self-Advocacy Project team to plan and coordinate the annual Spring Into Action Luncheon and Fall Conference.

During the year, self-advocates are invited to attend Healthy Lifestyles workshops, planning and leadership discussions, voting workshops, maintaining healthy relationship activities, workshops about advocating for your employment rights, and many other seminars and training, as requested by agencies and individuals.

All adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities are welcome to attend NJSSAN Council meetings. We encourage and challenge group members to learn about their rights, get involved in advocacy events, and speak out about issues that affect their lives.

The New Jersey Statewide Self-Advocacy Network (NJSSAN) is made up of 5 regional Councils. All adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities are welcome to attend NJSSAN Council meetings. We encourage and challenge group members to learn about their rights, get involved in advocacy events, and speak out about issues that affect their lives.


Click the calendar icon to view the 2019 Council Calendar meeting dates!

COUNCIL 1: Hunterdon, Morris, Sussex & Warren Counties
COUNCIL 2: Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Passaic & Union Counties
COUNCIL 3: Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean & Somerset Counties
COUNCIL 4: Burlington, Camden & Gloucester Counties
COUNCIL 5: Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland & Salem Counties


Advisory Board

The Advisory Board of the NJSSAN consists of elected officers from each of the five Councils. Each Council holds elections to select a Chair and Co-Chair. If applicable, an Independent Advocate may be chosen as well. These officers make up the Advisory Board. The Advisory Board meets monthly to develop goals, spearhead advocacy campaigns, and plan for the annual luncheon and conference. To see the Advisory Boards goals for this year, please check the sidebar.

Contact Us!

COUNCIL 1 Hunterdon, Morris, Sussex & Warren Counties
Advisor: Ashley Ritchey
732-743-8345 / ARitchey@ArcNJ.org

COUNCIL 2 Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Passaic & Union Counties
Advisor: Erin Smithers
732-246-2525 x 26 / ESmithers@ArcNJ.org

COUNCIL 3 Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean & Somerset Counties
Advisor: Michael Pearson
732-246-2525 x 37 / MPearson@ArcNJ.org

COUNCIL 4 Burlington, Camden & Gloucester Counties
Advisor: Daniel Pearson
732-246-2525 x 20 / DPearson@ArcNJ.org

COUNCIL 5 Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland & Salem Counties
Advisor: Daniel Pearson
732-246-2525 x 20 / DPearson@ArcNJ.org

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