Council-Sponsored Grant Activities
Partners in Policymaking Class 36
September 21 - 22, 2018 was the first weekend session for Class 36 Partners in Policymaking. Thirty-five individuals – 11 self advocates and 24 parents (four individuals from racial/ethnic minority communities) are participating in this year's leadership training program.
Inclusive Education was the theme and focus for the second weekend session on October 12 - 13, 2018. Participants learned and applied the concepts and principles of best practices in schools and all leaning environments, and the rules of civil discourse in difficult conversations and meetings.
The weekend of November 16 – 17, 2018 highlighted the County Role in Developmental Disabilities, the purpose and functions of local government, and meetings with County Commissioners to begin the process of establishing partnerships with elected officials.
The weekend of January 11 – 12, 2019 highlighted Living – the full range of types of housing that are available and financing options, and Supported and Customized Employment – emphasizing that "everyone can work."
Cultural Outreach Program in the Somali Community
Since 1992, a cultural outreach and leadership training program was offered in the African American community. Most participants were residents of Hennepin County and training sessions were held in North Minneapolis.
In 2017, the cultural outreach program was introduced to the Somali community. The Horn of Africa Aid and Rehabilitation Network (HAARAN) is carrying out the program. Participants are residents of Nicollet and Mankato counties and training sessions are held in St. Peter, Minnesota where HAARAN is located.
Many of the residents in this part of the state resettled to the United States from refugee camps in the five countries that comprise the Horn of Africa. They all bring their cultural and religious beliefs, customs and practices here; and all inform the new knowledge, awareness, and understanding of the services and supports that are available for parents with children with developmental disabilities and adults with disabilities.
In their homeland, children with disabilities had no access to services or care, parents were shunned, and may not have been allowed to participate in community life. In contrast, the knowledge they are gaining and skills they are learning in the training sessions are providing them and their children with a quality of life that before they had not known.
Abdi Matan, President of HAARAN, is recognized and respected as a leader in his community. He founded HARAAN in 2008 in Maine to bring knowledge about disabilities and disability services to refugees. In 2014, he came to Minnesota and brought his organization to St. Peter, Minnesota. He is dedicated and committed to serve the Somali community, and carry out programs that will change attitudes and the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families. Together with Christina Feller, he is helping to coordinate this cultural outreach program and serve as interpreter.
Twenty individuals were recruited to participate in the Cultural Outreach Program. On October 27 – 29, 2017, the first three training sessions were held.
Self Advocacy – Ambassadors for Respect Anti-Bullying Campaign
The Anti-Bullying Campaign began a new project year in early February 2017 with the Ambassadors for Respect preparing classroom kits for the 13 schools that will be participating this year.
Returning schools include Cowern, Richardson, and Parkview Center (North St. Paul); Willow Lane, Otter Lake, Vadnais Heights, and Matoska International (White Bear Lake); St. John the Baptist (New Brighton); Little Canada (Little Canada); Brimhall (Roseville); and Harambee Cultural Communities and Environmental Science School. A new partnership has begun with Bruce Vento Elementary School in St. Paul.
St. John the Baptist in New Brighton is the first school to receive PeaceMaker Foundation funding.
The first training sessions were held at Richardson Elementary School on February 13, 2017 followed a week later with training sessions at Willow Lane.
Seven Ambassadors for Respect, including one self advocate who will be a first time teacher/trainer, will rotate through the participating schools during this project year.
On February 13, 2017, three sessions were held at Richardson Elementary School with a total of 92 students and four teachers.
On February 20, 2017, three sessions were held at Willow Lane Elementary School with a total of 84 students and three teachers.
On March 13, 2017, three sessions were held at Matoska International School with a total of 81 students and three teachers.
On March 30, 2017, four sessions were held at Little Canada Elementary School; a total of 98 students and three teachers participated.
On April 13, 2017, three sessions were held at Vadnais Heights Elementary School; a total of 81 students and four teachers participated.
On April 20, 2017, three sessions were held at Parkview Elementary School with a total of 84 students and six teachers.
On May 5, 2017, two sessions were held at St. John’s Elementary School; a total of 56 students and three teachers participated.
On May 11, 2017, two sessions were held at Birch Lake Elementary School; a total of 62 students and three teachers participated.
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.
During 2017, Mounds View Life Training Transition Program and North St. Paul's Next step Transition Program completed initial work with students using a modified discovery process. That work is continuing in 2018 resulting in students finding jobs that are in keeping with person centered planning principles.