The greatest impact that this program has had on my life is the ability to expand the use of my current resources to not only have a voice for myself, but also for others with disabilities. The journey in the employment field has been difficult and that journey really reached emotional highs and lows as the stories and thoughts were shared with the people who were part of my graduating class. I am a single parent, a person with a disability, and an advocate for those who choose to embrace their lives as people with disabilities.
In this world that seeks to have conformity, it is not always easy. Asking for accommodations or even embracing who I am as a leader in an employment community, can appear to make the word “disability” a judgment. The wealth of information I learned in Partners has given me the courage to be myself, even when there is strong opposition to that fact. The classwork and discussions really brought my awareness and resources to a heightened level. It taught me the most creative ways to bridge advocacy and everyday life together and for that I am grateful.
There is a lot more work to be done. The many different facets of disabilities and communities need a strong voice like Partners in Policymaking. These voices speak volumes to those trying to support their families in a society that still has trouble embracing difference and allowing access to assistive technology, accommodations, employment opportunities and learning.
—Alison Canty, Self-Advocate