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Providing information, education, and training to build knowledge, develop skills, and change attitudes that will lead to increased independence, productivity, self determination, integration and inclusion (IPSII) for people with developmental disabilities and their families.

Council-Sponsored Grant Activities: On Eagle's Wings

Cultural Outreach Program in the African American Community

On Eagle's Wings Session 1

The cultural outreach program prepares parents with children with developmental disabilities from a minority community for the Partners in Policymaking® program. Outreach and personal support are incorporated into the program. Training sessions provide resource information about programs and services, introductory leadership skills, and introduce the concepts of the Partners program.

Twenty individuals attended the first session for the 2016 training program year on January 19, 2016. Participants learned about the history of disabilities, were given examples of how history repeats itself in the way that people with disabilities are treated and lingering attitudes about them, and then shared their personal stories and experiences as individuals with disabilities and members of the African American community. This session also included emergency preparedness presentations on winter cold weather extremes and flu season.


The January 30, 2016 training session focused on Inclusive Education. Participants assumed the roles of the parent advocate, school administrator, inclusion aide, and special education teacher to practice communication skills – assertiveness and aggressive approaches - in an IEP planning meeting. They also reviewed highlights from the Partners in Education online course and saw the TPT documentary, "Independence to Inclusion."

On Eagle's Wings Session 2
On Eagle's Wings Session 2

The February 6, 2016 training session gave participants an outline of county services, and an opportunity to have questions and concerns addressed about specific programs and services within the framework of person centered planning. They reviewed a video about person centered planning and David Gillette's illustrated essay, "Know Your Rights."

On Eagle's Wings Session 2016 3
On Eagle's Wings Session 2016 3

The February 28, 2016 training session provided participants with a variety of tools that encouraged and supported their involvement in the policymaking process – the Making Your Case booklet and online course, Partners in Making Your Case, and the "Telling our Story" app. A mock legislative hearing gave participants an opportunity to practice new skills and how to respond to questions about policy issues of particular concern to them.

On Eagle's Wings Session 2016 3
On Eagle's Wings Session 2016 3
On Eagle's Wings Session 2016 3

At the March 12, 2016 training session, participants met with state Senator Melissa Wiklund, discussed issues of concern, including Medical Assistance income assets, and asked for her support. An overview about the legislative process, and current policy issues affecting individuals with developmental disabilities and families were also provided. Participants were reminded about the "Telling Your Story," app, one of several tools available for communicating with policymakers.

On Eagle's Wings Session 2016 4
On Eagle's Wings Session 2016 4
On Eagle's Wings Session 2016 4

On March 26, 2016, On Eagles Wings, the Cultural Outreach and Leadership Training Program in the African American Community, graduated 19 individuals. Together, they "learned a lot more about services for people with disabilities" and are motivated to continue this advocacy work. They were supported in their belief that "all lives matter and equality is important" but know that there is still a long way to go in realized this goal.

On Eagle's Wings Session 2016 4
On Eagle's Wings Session 2016 4
On Eagle's Wings Session 2016 4

On April 2, 2016, seventeen On Eagles Wings graduates attended a one-half day training session on emergency planning and preparedness. Participants heard from first responders, learned how individuals with autism respond in emergency situations, discussed personal safety strategies in weather related emergencies, and developed their own personal safety plan.

On Eagle's Wings Session 2016 4
On Eagle's Wings Session 2016 4
On Eagle's Wings Session 2016 4
2015 Program Highlights >>
2014 Program Highlights >>

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The GCDD is funded under the provisions of P.L. 106-402. The federal law also provides funding to the Minnesota Disability Law Center,the state Protection and Advocacy System, and to the Institute on Community Integration, the state University Center for Excellence. The Minnesota network of programs works to increase the IPSII of people with developmental disabilities and families into community life.