Training Program for Disability Advocates in NC Seeks Participants

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by Camel City Dispatch

By Staff

 Editor’s Note: CCD managing editor Carissa Joines went through the Partners in Policymaking program as have CCD contributors Matt Potter and Bryan Dooley.

carissa joines interviewed about partners in policy making
CCD managing editor carissa joines interviewed about partners in policy making

A statewide training program that develops leadership and advocacy skills on behalf of people with developmental disabilities is set to begin in February, 2015 in Raleigh. Partners in Policymaking is designed to better enable individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and the parents of school-aged children with these disabilities, to influence policymakers and effectively present their views on public policy that affects them.

Presentations by nationally-recognized leaders together with strong team-building exercises are scheduled for the expected class of 30 participants. The 2015 Partners program applications are now available and are due by the application deadline of midnight on February 1st, 2015/E.S.T. There is no cost to take part in this leadership training, and those participating will be reimbursed for their mileage to-and-from Raleigh for all 8 of the 2-day weekend training sessions.

“Individuals with developmental disabilities and parents of school-aged children with developmental disabilities want what we all want for ourselves and our children which is that we, as adult members of society, and our children become good neighbors, responsible citizens and productive workers in the communities where they live,” says Deborah Whitfield, Executive Director of Advocacy Institute, Inc., the organization coordinating and delivering the Partners program in North Carolina. Deborah adds that, “This forward-thinking, cutting-edge leadership and advocacy training program empowers participants to change their own lives as they work to become effective disability policy change agents at the local, state and national levels.”

The Partners program is based upon the belief that the most significant and enduring public policy decisions have been brought about through the efforts of those most affected who find ways to work together with public officials and policy specialists for systems change. During all 8 of the 2-day weekend training sessions that span from February through September of the 2015 training year, there are national and state experts on disability-related issues who present state-of-the-art information in an experiential learning format to program participants.

During the Partners training year, a range of topics are addressed. From the history of disability policy, inclusive education, supported and independent employment, affordable housing, state and federal legislative process, to communicating effectively in meetings, interacting with policy leaders, legislators, and the media, participants learn the issues that touch and concern their lives. Partners participants graduate from the training program knowing how to create higher levels of inclusion, independence, self-determination, productivity and integration in their lives.

All eight training sessions are held in Raleigh at the North Raleigh Hilton. The sessions begin at noon on Saturday and continue until 3:30 p.m. on Sunday. Program participants stay at the meeting hotel to facilitate attendance throughout the training weekends. The Partners program is funded by the North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities at no cost to participants. Mileage to-and-from Raleigh is reimbursed. Hotel accommodations and meals are paid, in advance, by the program.

Partners in Policymaking© leadership and disability-advocacy program is a national training model that had its beginnings in Minnesota 27 years ago. Since then, the Partners program has expanded to almost every state and internationally. Since 1995, the Partners program has been delivered in the State of North Carolina and has trained over 600 North Carolina residents. Worldwide, over 23,000 people have received Partners training.

Learn more about the North Carolina Partners in Policymaking program on facebook HERE or contact Vonetta Blakely at: 704/649-5627. You can also email her at: vonettablakely [at] . Applications are available on the Internet and can be downloaded HERE or on the North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities website HERE.

Partners in Policymaking NC Application 2015

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