The Arc Maryland, with People on the Go of Maryland, are incredibly excited to usher in the return of Partners in Policymaking®, a program that prepares adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) and parents of children with I/DD to be effective advocates at local, state and national levels. The year-long, class-style program is available in over 30 states. In 2019, The Arc Maryland had the opportunity to manage Maryland’s Partners in Policymaking® program for the first time since 2007, thanks to funding and partnership from the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council.
Partners In Policymaking® is about systems change: creating, working towards, and achieving a vision of shared values about people with disabilities. Partners graduates often become life long and long-term agents of change in the community.
The goal of Partners in Policymaking® is to educate participants to be active partners with those who make policy. The idea is to develop partnerships that are based on positive and mutually beneficial relationships. In today’s political climate of constant change, Partners graduates must work tirelessly to prevent the loss of basic rights for people with disabilities. Partners graduates can change the future by influencing public policy today!
“I have gained a lot of knowledge about topics related to self-advocacy and leadership. I have also met many amazing people while in the Partners program who are great examples of leadership and self-advocacy.”
– Justin Valenti, 2019 Partners Graduate
This year in the state of Maryland, up to 30 participants will be selected from a competitive application pool to participate in mandatory classes from September to June. Class members will hear from subject matter experts in sessions with topics such as:
- The History of the Developmental Disabilities Movement; Lessons Learned and the Way Forward
- State Laws and Policies and Those Who Create Them
- Federal Laws and Policies and Those Who Create Them
- Inclusive Education and Lifelong Learning
- Developing Your Ideal Life
- Living Your Ideal Life
- Advocacy in Action
- Taking Your Place
Additionally, throughout the year, Partners are challenged to identify and work on a project to inspire change in the community by exploring issues faced by people with I/DD and their families.
“I feel so fortunate to have been able to participate alongside so many seasoned advocates and self-advocates so early in our journey. From person-centered planning to effective policy advocacy, to partnering with my child’s school for the best education experience possible, among many other topics; this has given me the tools in my toolkit that I wasn’t aware I needed. Connecting with the guest speakers, staff, and the other Partners has been a treasure and a powerful networking opportunity, making this an invaluable experience and one that I hope will allow me to be a change-maker for my son and others.”
– Angie Auldridge, 2019 Partners Graduate
Becoming a Partner in Policymaking
Applications for the 2019-2020 class are currently closed. We encourage you to apply for our 2020-2021 class starting in July of 2020. There is no fee to attend and stipends for special circumstances (adapted transportation for example) may be available.
The 2019-2020 class schedule is as follows:
- September 22 & 23, 2019 (Sunday & Monday)
- October 29, 2019 (Tuesday)
- November 19, 2019 (Tuesday)
- January 12 & 13, 2020 (Sunday & Monday)
- February 12, 2020 (Wednesday, Developmental Disabilities Day at the Legislature)
- March 25, 2020 (Wednesday)
- April 26 & 27, 2020 (Sunday & Monday)
- May 19, 2020 (Tuesday)
- June 2, 2020 (Tuesday, The Arc Maryland Annual Convention)
Please do not apply if you do not feel you will be able to attend all classes. People with I/DD and parents of children with I/DD from every Maryland community are encouraged to apply. Most classes are based in Howard County Maryland with one or two exceptions.
Any Questions About Partners?
Want to know more about the Partners in Policymaking® Program? We have compiled Frequently Asked Questions that you can view from the button below. For any additional questions, contact Kathy Swanson at The Arc Maryland by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (410) 571-9320.