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Virginia Board for People with Disabilities

Partners in Policymaking

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Training Advocates to Step Up to Leadership Roles

Partners in Policymaking (PIP) participants are people have a developmental disability or are parents of young children with developmental disabilities. Partners must be Virginia residents. Individuals attending the program will participate in advocacy skill workshops, resource development, and leadership training.

Become a Partner in Policymaking

Applications are now closed for the September 2014 – April 2015 session.

More than four hundred Virginia PIP alumni, and thousands who have graduated from PIP programs across the country, have learned how to make a difference every day for themselves, their families, and their communities.

Individuals participating in PIP attend advocacy training, resource development, and skill building workshops led by state and national experts. Topics covered include the history of the disability rights movement, self-advocacy, independent living, employment, building inclusive communities, natural supports, legislative advocacy, assistive technology, communication, team building, and much more! VBPD covers all expenses for participants’ training, lodging, meals, and travel.

Program participants attend and actively participate in eight two-day sessions, from Friday afternoon and to late Saturday afternoon, in Richmond, Virginia. The exact location and session dates will be posted in the near future. The VBPD is currently in the procurement process to secure a location and session dates.

Download the PIP15 Flyers: Version 1 and Version 2

An overview of the program and staff contacts appear below.

Overview

Application and selection as a participant for the Partners in Policymaking (PIP) program requires a substantial commitment of time, motivation and energy. If accepted, individuals must attend eight two-day sessions between September and May. Each session begins on Friday afternoon and concludes Saturday afternoon. Participants meet competencies by agreeing to complete homework, class assignments and one major project.

The group of selected participants, consisting of parents and self-advocates, will build networks with state and national leaders as well as one another. Participants will be educated on best practices and current trends in many areas including:

  • History of Disability Movements
  • Self-Advocacy
  • Independent Living
  • Inclusive Education
  • Supported Employment
  • Personal Futures Planning
  • Building Inclusive Communities
  • Natural Supports
  • Assistive Technology
  • Communication & Team Building
  • Legislative Process and Strategies

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the eligibility requirements to become a Partner in Policymaking participant?

To be eligible, an individual must:

  • have a developmental disability, as defined by the Developmental Disabilities and Bill of Rights Assistance Act

or

  • be the parent of a young child with a developmental disability

What is the definition of Developmental Disability?

The VBPD uses the definition below to determine eligibility for participation in Partners in Policymaking.

  1. In general, “developmental disability” means a severe, chronic disability of an individual that:
    1. is attributable to a mental or physical impairment or combination of mental and physical impairments;
    2. is manifested before the individual attains age 22;
    3. is likely to continue indefinitely;
    4. results in substantial functional limitations in 3 or more of the following areas of major life activity:
      1. Self care;
      2. Receptive and expressive language;
      3. Learning;
      4. Mobility;
      5. Self direction;
      6. Capacity for independent living; and
      7. Economic self sufficiency;
        1. reflects the individual’s need for a combination and sequence of special, interdisciplinary, or generic services, individualized supports, or other forms of assistance that are of lifelong or extended duration and are individually planned and coordinated.
  2. Infants and young children. An individual from birth to age 9, inclusive, who has a substantial developmental delay or specific congenital or acquired condition, may be considered to have a developmental disability without meeting 3 or more of the criteria described in clauses:
    1. through (v) of subparagraph (A) if the individual, without services and supports, has a high probability of meeting those criteria later in life.

How are individuals selected for the Partners in Policymaking class?

Individuals are selected as Partners in Policymaking (PIP) participants in a competitive application process administered statewide. In order to be considered, applications must be received by the deadline, April 30, 2014. A panel of Partners graduates reviews and selects participants for each class. Following the screening and selection process, all applicants will be notified of their status by letter. We encourage applicants who are not selected to re-apply, as we always receive more worthy applications than we have spaces to fill. Each class is carefully selected to represent a range of experience, demographics, and abilities.

Is there any cost involved in attending the Partners in Policymaking sessions?

All session expenses are paid by the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities. Covered expenses include lodging, food, materials, individual accommodations/support (such as sign language interpreters, personal care assistants, respite/child care) and transportation for those needing specialized transportation services and mileage reimbursement for traveling a distance.

What happens in the sessions?

Partners in Policymaking participants spend the eight months building a “toolbox” for communicating effectively with legislators, policymakers, and administrators. All presentations, assignments, and group activities are designed to give Partners practice and experience working to improve policy, service systems and opportunities for full participation in community life.

Partners will be introduced to leaders in the disability rights movement. These introductions are a rare opportunity to receive background information and practical advice for advancing a shared vision. The program culminates with a trip to the State Capitol to deliver testimony using skills and knowledge gained during the training. On graduation weekend, each Partner presents to their classmates the project they conceived and developed over the eight month period. Many of the projects grow into long term endeavors.

What happens if I have a scheduling conflict with one of the session dates?

The Partners in Policymaking program requires a substantial commitment of time, motivation and energy. To provide the fullest experience, ATTENDANCE IS REQUIRED AT ALL SESSIONS.

2013-2014 Session Schedule

  • September 13 & 14, 2013
  • October 18 & 19, 2013
  • November 22& 23, 2013
  • December 2013 (no session)
  • January 10 & 11, 2014
  • March 21 & 22, 2014
  • April 11 & 12, 2014
  • May 16 & 17, 2014

Where are sessions held?

All seven PIP 2013-2014 sessions will be held at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center in Richmond, Virginia.

PIP 2014-2015 will take place at a hotel in the Richmond area. The exact location and session dates will be posted in the near future.

Contact

For more information contact:

Partners in Policymaking
Virginia Board for People with Disabilities
Washington Building
1100 Bank Street, 7th Floor
Richmond, Virginia 23219
800-846-4464 (TTY/voice)
804-786-1118 (fax)

Teri Barker, Program Manager
Teri.Barker@vbpd.virginia.gov
804-786-9381

Or

Rachel Loria, Partners in Policymaking Assistant
Rachel.Loria@vbpd.virginia.gov
804-786-3456

Share Your News

Advocacy efforts vary…from organizing a rally to talking one-on-one with local or state officials, we want to hear what Partners are doing to improve systems for people with disabilities!

Partners in Policymaking graduates are making differences on many levels. If you are a graduate and have advocated for community inclusion, accessibility, inclusive education, equal opportunity employment, civil rights, or social changes in attitudes and values, tell us so we can share your success.

Submit brief details below, or share photos, videos (under 3 min.), or documents to info@VBPD.virginia.gov

Thank YOU for helping us keep Partners impacting Policy in Virginia and across the country.

Your Details

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Once your information is submitted it will be reviewed by the PIP program manager and may be edited for use in VBPD materials and websites. By submitting photographs, digital images, video, or audio tape, you consent to their usage by VBPD and understand that submission does not guarantee the material will be used. You may be contacted for additional information, so be sure to list your direct contact information in case we have questions!

News

Sarah Alsop (‘12) Sarah created an accessibility committee Bowling Green, VA and they’ve had their first meeting.

Angela Kahler (‘12) Angela was appointed to the Faith Inclusion Network Board of Directors. Angela and PIP 12 grad Christine Chewning are helping to arrange the National Conference for the Faith Inclusion Network. Angela hosted an event (30 attendees) with the network called Inclusion in Action, which incorporated promoting inclusion in the faith community.

Robyn Iuliano (‘11) Robyn started a program called Brighter Futures to build collaboration between schools, agencies, and professionals for people with disabilities. She was also appointed onto the global STOMP (Specialized Training of Military Parents/Professionals) board and serves as a family navigator.

Ivy Kennedy (‘11) Ivy led a breakout session about public education at the Arc 2012 State Convention. Ivy is also doing public speaking about Disability History Awareness Month and the Medicaid Waiver. Ivy was a co-facilitator at the 2012 Youth Leadership Forum.

Lisa Lockhart (‘12) Lisa has started working on programs with the Arc of Greater Richmond. She helped to organize an event called Zumba for Self Determination to raise awareness of all individuals’ right to have control over their lives.

Hollie Monroe (‘12) Hollie was accepted to be on the VAULT Board of Directors. She participated with VAULT (Virginia Advocates United Leading Together) as a vendor at the Youth Leadership Forum Resource Fair. Hollie shared about her Partners experience at the VBPD Board Meeting in September.

Katherine Montgomery (‘12) Katherine was promoted to Advocacy Associate at the Arc of Northern Virginia.

Liz Salter (‘12) Liz has started working on the Mayor’s Committee for People with Disabilities in Hampton.

Matthew Shapiro (‘12) Matthew was selected for an internship at the White House where he is working on disability policy issues.

Brett Wills (‘12) Brett spoke at the September meeting of the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities about his Partners in Policymaking experience.

Class of 2014

  • Sandhya Bikmal – Ashburn
  • Nickie Brown – Newport News
  • Kelly Carpenter – S. Chesterfield
  • Erin Croyle – Alexandria
  • Robin Davis – Richmond
  • Jamie Diefenbacher – Smithfield
  • Jill Dolan – Powhatan
  • Jennifer Gaston-Smith – King George
  • Felicia Hamilton – Suffolk
  • Krysti Henton – Poquoson
  • Danny Hodges – Hampton
  • Anthony Howard – Disputanta
  • Susie Juhl – Williamsburg
  • LeighAnn Kaman – Richmond
  • Tracy LaGanke – Glen Allen
  • Jennifer Lupo Reese – Sterling
  • Becca Oliver – Richmond
  • Amy Ouellette – Virginia Beach
  • Ronald Parker – Richmond
  • Donna Robel – Virginia Beach
  • Willie Rosser – Hampton
  • Virginia Sprague – Virginia Beach
  • Rose Maria Sutton – Stafford
  • Travis Webb – Norfolk
  • Carlye White – Richmond