Alex Beauchner applied to the NH Leadership Series at a critical juncture. As a young man experiencing a disability, he wanted to learn more about advocacy—not just for himself, but for his loved ones and community. In his program application, Alex stated, “When I was born, I had Autism. It was tough growing up, but I got stronger. I have a lot of friends with disabilities and [participating in Leadership] would help me teach my friends to be stronger advocates.”

Alex had come to the right place. As New Hampshire’s longest-running disability advocacy and leadership program, the NH Leadership Series had the expertise, opportunities, and connections to help Alex cultivate and utilize his newfound skills. With a network of over 1,000 program graduates, Alex immediately became part of a supportive, thriving community proven to create positive change for people with disabilities.

Over the next eight months, he developed his desired advocacy skills, learned about critical disability rights issues, and discovered how to affect meaningful change—for himself and others. “Now, with my Leadership skills, I’m able to better advocate for myself because I have more self-confidence, self-awareness, and the tools I need to communicate my capabilities to others and get things done,” Alex said. “And I enjoy helping others find their own strengths and seeing their own potential in becoming a strong advocate.”

Through his NH Leadership Series experience, Alex gained more than just skills; he met most of his closest friends and fellow advocates. “When you participate in Leadership,” Alex reflected, “you have an amazing team behind your back wherever you go. The friendships I have formed in Leadership will be for a lifetime!”

Alex’s improved self-advocacy skills are helping him live a full, active life. He’s employed at a grocery store and hospital, and works with the City of Dover to improve downtown accessibility for people with disabilities. “Since Leadership I have moved into my own apartment,” Alex said. “I started a new club called The Dream Team and my girlfriend, Katie, and I are celebrating three years together this month!” Alex is an active ABLE NH board member and chair of the Seacoast ABLE chapter. Alex’s leadership has been the driving force calling for the redesign of downtown Dover centered on universal design for all mobility types to be embedded in all stages of the process. He has successfully built stakeholder relationships connecting citizens, decision-makers, and elected officials at the local and national levels resulting in ABLE NH having a named seat in the RPF design process phase.

Thanks to this powerful program, he’s bettering outcomes for himself, his loved ones, and his community—not just for today, but for a lifetime.