Saturday, August 12, 2006


I have a special place in my heart for the Partners In Policymaking experience and all the many great people I have met through the program. For those that do not know what I am talking about, Partners is a skill building program for people with disabilities, and parents of children with disabilities designed - according to the web page of the original Partners in Policymaking program in Minnesota - to achieve two main goals: To teach best practices in disability, and the competencies of influencing public officials. To achieve these goals, you and a small (about 20 to 25 people) group of Partners (who will inevitably become close friends and allies) meet for two days each month (Friday and Saturday) for eight months to listen to expert speakers, discuss issues, and learn best practices. Of course Partners is so much more than that - it is one of those experiences where you come out the other end as a resurrected human force of good.

I graduated from Partners in 2002, but recently I attended a Partners post graduation training. Through this two day addendum to my Partners training I was able to rejuvenate the spirit of Partners that I felt four years ago. I did not learn much, but I was able to re-connect with old friends and meet some new friends (from other classes). I remembered how Partners is a place where self-actualization, enlightenment, and discovery occurs. It is also place for group camaraderie, struggle, caring, and understanding. Partners learn together, love together, grieve together, advocate together, celebrate together, and grow together. As we come together, we empower ourselves, teach each other, and communicate to the world.

If you are interested in learning more about or joining Partners you can go to the Minnesota Partners page to get more information. If you live in Kansas, you can go to this page to find more information and get an application. To find information about Partners in your state Google "Partners in Policymaking" + your state name.

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