UDW Leadership Academy develops caregivers’ power and potential

February 1, 2018

Assistant Executive Director Johanna Hester pumps up the first Leadership Academy meeting in San Diego, CA.

As a member-led union, UDW provides a way for IHSS providers to make our voices heard and take charge of our futures.

One way we do this is through the UDW Leadership Academy, our new training program to help members who are ready to take the next step and lead. Members who are selected for the Leadership Academy make a commitment to eight weeks of free training that covers:

  • Public speaking and leadership
  • The history of UDW and the labor movement
  • How caregivers can use legislation and politics to make a positive change for our clients

Denise Justice, a caregiver from Santa Barbara County, is one of the first Leadership Academy trainees. She became a UDW member in 2016 when she began caring for her grandmother, and found UDW’s help invaluable. From help with timecards to health care and transitioning from caring for her grandmother to finding two non-family clients, Denise said, “UDW’s been nothing but supportive.”

Denise soon found she was taking that support and turning it outward, to other people who needed help. “Not only was I given so much to be able to take care of a family member, I’ve been able to help other community members get IHSS to care for their family members. UDW has helped me grow and blossom in leadership in my community.”

Helping members like Denise who have so much to offer is the goal of the Leadership Academy, and she said she is excited to put her training to work making IHSS better for everyone who needs it.

“I’m looking forward to letting people know that there are things out there better than what we have,” Denise said. “And to have the courage to step up and help the people around us to have the strength to get the support they need.”

Leadership Academy will be launched in January 2018 in every UDW district. Want to learn more? Call your local office today!

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