The Partners in Policymaking Program is a leadership training program designed for adults with disabilities and for parents of children with disabilities. The program teaches leadership skills, and the process of developing positive partnerships with elected officials and other individuals who make the policy decisions about services that individuals with disabilities and their families use. The program is based on the belief that the most effective and enduring public policy decisions are made by the people who need and use services in partnership with elected officials and other policymakers. It is about becoming confident in oneself, competent in the knowledge and information received, and comfortable in sharing the life experiences and expertise one brings to the program. Click here for additional background information.
The Arc of Bismarck is currently accepting applications for the next class of eight sessions which will begin in October. Click here for 2013 - 2014 session dates. With funding provided
primarily through a grant from the State Council on Developmental Disabilities, The Arc of Bismarck is able to provide this training completely free of charge to selected participants. If you would like more information e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 888-258-7949 or 701-258-7949.
What Partners graduates have to say...
"I learned that my voice can make a difference."
"Partners gave me confidence. I am way more comfortable with public speaking."
"I have grown to another level...everybody should come to Partners."
"I am going back to work and taking my life back."
"The resources and tools presented in Partners reach much further than policymaking and can be ingrained into our daily lives."
"Because of Partners I have the courage to pursue my goals."
"A life-changing experience."
"I am so grateful for the opportunity for growth."
"I am impressed with all the presentations...have enjoyed this program very much."
"I became an advocate."
"I have learned to listen better and answer in a calm, positive manner."
"Partners taught me to see beyond a person's disabilities."
"I can't say enough good things about Partners. It opened up a whole new world for me and my family. My child has benefited from my eyes being opened."
"I have learned to value my friendships and show that to people with or without disabilities."
"I feel that my thinking has shifted from what others can do to what changes I need to make and what we all can do together."
"My choice of friends is changing as well as how I see the gifts others have to offer...now when I look at my circle I see more diversity, more honor & respect."
"It was awesome! It's the richest training I've ever been to and find that it's like a seed planted which continues to grow and change within me. I am so grateful!"
North Dakota Partners In Policymaking
...making a difference for North Dakotans who have disabilities
Every day an old man walked the beach with a pail picking up starfish that had been washed in by the tide and throwing them back into the sea. One day a young boy stopped the old man and asked, "Why do you throw the starfish back? It doesn't matter. They will only wash up on the shore again tomorrow." The old man picked a starfish out of his pail, threw it as far as he could into the sea and replied..."It mattered to that one."
Change Doesn't Happen By Itself
Effective change takes people, united as one, working together. Partners in Policymaking is a program that prepares individuals to be effective leaders and advocates for the rights of people with disabilities. The goal is to achieve a productive partnership between people needing and using services and those delivering services or making policy or law. Click here to see 2010-2011 program goals. The rewards are
Training For Excellence
Selected participants attend eight two-day training sessions usually from October through April with a Friday night stay-over at the motel (for those traveling from outside of the training site area). In the event of any schedule changes, selected participants will be advised by September of the current year Training sessions and accommodations are provided at no cost to participants including travel and needed supports. The sessions explore current disability issues, best practices and the policymaking and legislative processes at the local, state and federal levels. Partners also complete assignments between sessions and commit to one major project after graduation.
We Need You
Partners in Policymaking invites adults with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities to fill out an application. Partners are highly motivated men and women who represent a variety of backgrounds, geographic regions of the state and different types of disabilities. Those who are not already active in advocacy organizations are especially encouraged to apply.
Session Topics Include:
History of the Disability Movement
People First Language
Strategies for Effective Advocacy
Positive Behavioral Supports
State Legislative Process
Federal Policy & Legislative Process
Community Organizing & Alliance Building
And So Much More!
Carol Kroll, 2011 Partners in Policymaking Graduate
While attending Partners in Policymaking, I learned many things. Each speaker that presented at a session was always the best that I had heard - at least until the next session! The topic of each speaker was relevant and useful. My aha moments occurred during the sessions on state and federal legislative processes. I was amazed to see that North Dakota legislators were truly interested in our stories…the stories that were illuminated by the diversity of our group. Through Partners in Policymaking, I discovered many resources that were available to add to my set of tools to help our family just when we needed it most. I built relationships with other Partners that will last for all of our lifetimes with the thought that we are all more alike than different. I felt a boost of confidence in speaking in our small groups as
well as in giving presentations. The coordination of each session made me feel valued and welcome and free to explore the ideas and teachings offered to us. I felt overwhelmed and I felt truly listened to. The resources and tools presented at the sessions reach much further than policy making and can be ingrained into our daily lives. Attending Partners in Policymaking has been one of the best choices I have made. It allowed me to realize the value of leadership and to see whose responsibility it is to take the lead, become informed and pay it forward.
Justin Neis, 2011 Partners Graduate
I have learned to advocate for myself. When I first came to Partners I was nervous, shy and scared, but now I am more comfortable around people.
Jessica Fleckenstein, 2011 Partners Graduate
I knew that Partners would offer me additional knowledge for advocating. I never imagined that I would find my voice! Through Partners I have learned how to step out of my comfort zone and use my voice. I have learned how to take steps in order to reach my ultimate dream.
Chad Vogel, 2011 Partners Graduate
I've gained confidence when speaking in front of others. I learned about People First Language and how to be an advocate for myself.
Jill Brenna, 2011 Partners Graduate
I learned that my voice can make a difference!
June Perry, 2011 Partners Graduate
I have seen changes in myself...I've noticed that I'm more community-minded. I'm able to set boundaries where needed. I'm hungry for more. I'm just beginning. I've learned a lot of patience.
Perry Bouldin, 2011 Partners Graduate
Partners in Policymaking helped me learn to advocate for myself. I am now very confident!
Sherris Richards, 2011 Partners Graduate
I have grown to another level of advocacy and created strong friendships that will last a lifetime. I have learned so much by being fed knowledge and insight from wise people. Everybody should come to Partners.
Chad Warneke, 2011 Partners Graduate
Before coming to Partners I had so much anxiety I could barely sit in a group. Now I am going to work full time and taking my life back.
JoAnne Riederer, 2011 Partners Graduate
I found my voice!
Tracy Livingood, 2011 Partners Graduate
I enjoyed coming to Partners and doing a lot of learning. I learned new ways to speak up for my rights. I think everybody should go to Partners in Policymaking because they will learn important information about legislation, human rights, People First Language and acceptance and inclusion. My experience was very great!
Sara Highum, 2010 Partners Graduate
I learned a lot about self-advocacy and gained so much more self confidence. It's really coming into play in the flooding situation and dealing with different agencies. Before I would have someone else be my mouthpiece, but now I am doing most of it myself.
The ND Partners in Policymaking Program is primarily funded by a grant from the Governor's State Council on Developmental Disabilities.