Council-Sponsored Grant Activities
Partners in Policymaking Class 32
September 26-27, 2014 was kick off weekend for Class 32 Partners in Policymaking. Thirteen self advocates and sixteen parents learned about the history of disabilities, the Parent Movement, Independent Living Movement, and Self Advocacy Movement; heard from Partners graduates about the benefits of their personal experiences with Partners; and practiced some creativity exercises.
October 24-25, 2014 was Inclusive Education weekend. Participants learned about effective practices and the components of inclusive education, emerging positive trends, and how the concepts of universal design and a blended curriculum can improve the educational experience for all students. In a series of roundtables, representatives with expertise in special education and post secondary education topics provided participants with a wealth of materials and resources. With new knowledge and skills for working through difficult education meetings, participants assumed some character roles and role played the process for getting to positive outcomes.
November 21-22, 2014 provided an introduction to County Services, and the role and responsibilities of counties in delivering services to individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. Participants welcomed County Commissioners in a series of roundtables that gave them experience in sharing their personal stories and addressing policy issues that can be barriers to being fully included in their communities.
January 23-24, 2015 covered the topics of supported housing – the range of alternatives available and related costs; and customized employment – creating a personal profile that identifies skills and abilities, learning styles, likes and dislikes, and values.
February 20-21, 2015 covered the topics of community organizing, parliamentary procedure, and people with disabilities and the role of the media.
March 8-9. 2015 focused on state legislative issues – the tools and skills needed to most effectively communicate and educate elected officials, and a mock hearing to practice preparing and presenting testimony.
April 17-18, 2015 covered the federal legislative process, budget and policy issues at the national level, and meetings with Congressional staff about key disability issues. United States District Court Judge Donovan Frank, a dedicated and staunch advocate for equal justice under the law, spoke about the Federal Court's Role in disability issues.
May 15-16, 2015 was graduation weekend for Class 32 Partners in Policymaking. Participants learned about the role of the media in addressing public policy issues, and heard from a panel of Partners graduates about how they are applying their learning and skills, and continuing to work with policymakers on system change issues.
On Eagle's Wings
Cultural Outreach Program in the African American Community
The cultural outreach program prepares parents with children with developmental disabilities from a minority community for the Partners in Policymaking® program. Outreach services and personal support are incorporated into a training program that provides resource information about programs and services, and introduces the concepts of the Partners program. Twenty-three individuals were selected to participate in this year's program and 20 individuals attended the first training session on January 17, 2015. This first session focused on the History of Disabilities.
The January 31, 2015 training session focused on Inclusive Education and the communication skills, assertive vs. aggressive, that can set the tone for a positive or frustrating IEP process.
The February 14, 2015 session covered county services, programs and services available, and the role of the county in delivering services to individuals with developmental disabilities and families.
The February 28, 2015 session focused on the state legislative process, and how to prepare and present personal stories related to key public policy issues being addressed during this legislative session.
March 11, 2015 was Day at the Capitol for On Eagles Wings participants.
Self Advocacy – Ambassadors for Respect Anti-Bullying Campaign
On March 5, 2015, the Ambassadors for Respect started a new project year leading training sessions for 4th grade elementary school students about how to deal with and address bullying issues. Five schools are continuing their participation this year – Cowern Elementary, Willow Lake, Otter Lake, Vadnais Heights Elementary, and St. John the Baptist Elementary. Students at three new schools will reap the benefits of this successful program – O.H. Anderson Elementary, Little Canada Elementary, and Matoska International Elementary charter school. To accommodate the greater number of schools and training sessions, a pool of nine self advocates will serve as teachers/trainers this year. The 2015 project year got underway with two presentations for 4th grade students at Little Canada Elementary School.
On March 31, 2015, six Ambassadors for Respect, three of whom are new to the teacher/trainer pool this year, led four training sessions at Matoska International Elementary School.
On April 9, 2015, three training sessions were presented to 4th grade students at Vadnais Heights Elementary School.
On April 29, 2015, the Ambassadors for Respect led three training sessions for 4th grade students at Willow Lane Elementary School.
The Discovery Process is a tool, an information gathering strategy that involves seven stages of learning about an individual's interest and skills, to better match with employment opportunities or shape job possibilities that will be successful and productive for the individual.
The Employment Project is now in its third year. Five transition students and four adults with developmental disabilities are directly employed and earning minimum wage or above. Work hours for adult employees vary from an on call schedule to between 10 and 27 hours per week; class schedules limit work hours for students from two to 14 hours per week.