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Partners in Policymaking Impact

We measure Partners in Policymaking success by the impact made, with an eye on the past, present and future improvements in inclusiveness for Texans with developmental disabilities.  Since Texas Partners was launched, our alumni have won victories for the developmentally disabled community in places as diverse as in schools, on playgrounds and public pools, with city councils and at the state capitol. Here is a sampling of the success stories that our alumni have achieved after learning, through Texas Partners, how and why to craft impactful change for the developmentally disabled community.

Ed Roberts

Ed Roberts

Ed Roberts is a hero for Partners in Policymaking, as a past graduate of the program he brought valuable life experience and insight to “What’s possible”. He was the first student with severe disabilities to attend the University of California, Berkeley. He was a pioneering leader of the Disability Rights Movement. Roberts became paralyzed from the neck down after contracting polio in 1953 when he was 14. He spent the next 18 months in hospitals, eventually returning home. However, there were few, if any, community services available to assist him or his family. When Roberts returned to school, he quickly became an activist for disability rights. He eventually needed to fight to receive his high school diploma because he couldn’t pass one of the requirements – drivers’ education. His quest for inclusion continued when he fought for the right to attend college and throughout his years as a student at the University of California-Berkeley where he paved the way for other students with severe disabilities.

  • A few short months after graduation, I learned about an education bill at the state level that would be harmful to children with disabilities. I attended the legislative hearing on the bill and provided my personal testimony (along with other advocates). I felt confident and prepared, thanks to the Partners training — and thanks to all of our testimonials, the legislative committee killed the bill that day—success!

    Texas Partners Alumnus

  • The Partners training provided me and my classmates with specific training on influencing public policy at the local, state, and federal levels — with mock hearings, meeting with legislators, and much more. It was awesome!

    Texas Partners Alumnus

  • Partners helped me learn effective, proactive strategies — collaborative, cooperative, win-win strategies, instead of adversarial win-lose efforts — to create a more inclusive community not just for my son but for everyone in our community.

    Texas Partners Alumnus

  • In the years since my graduation, I’ve worked diligently to help individuals with disabilities and their families understand that having the “whatever it takes” attitude is important to ensure people with disabilities move away from segregated, congregate facilities to a home of their own!

    Texas Partners Alumnus

  • I’ve helped people with disabilities and families learn to use effective community organizing techniques that can ensure our communities are welcoming to all. I wouldn’t have known these skills to share with others without Partners!

    Texas Partners Alumnus

Some heroes of Partners are Parents.  For this father, Partners was instrumental when…

One of my sons was being abused in school. I was able to advocate for him. The state eventually came in and found problems. When the report came out, two weeks later the principal resigned. They always sent the head of the department of special education to his IEP meetings. Her response was “that makes sense” and that sometimes I was going beyond what the school was required to do. However, my request never went beyond what he needed.

—Joel (David) Callaway, Parent

Other heroes of Partners are Self Advocates like this young lady.

I was born with cerebral palsy and I have severe dyslexia. Despite these challenges I graduated with a bachelor’s [degree] in social work and then attended Partners in Policymaking. After attending the program, I got a job as a childcare provider for the YMCA. At the time, I felt like Partners in Policymaking was part of that success because I gained confidence and self-acceptance through the program. After a while I went on to attend graduate school at the University of Minnesota and received a Masters of Social Work in 2010. I am still not gainfully employed and not sure how to get to that step. However, I have my social work license (LGSW) and I volunteer at a disability organization where I recommend Partners in Policymaking to many people. I’m at a stage in my life where I almost feel like I wish I could retake the course.

—Self Advocate

We measure our success by the impact made, in Inclusion & Integration; increased Independence; productivity; and self-determination for all Partners participants and /or family members.