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  • Michelle Zeman

Up Your Advocacy Game Through Partners in Policymaking: Applications Due June 30

 Two women hold a certificate. One woman has long brown hair and glasses. She is wearing a green and black dress. The other woman has long blonde hair. She is wearing a blue jacket and a black dress.
Michelle Zeman (left) and Kristin Vandagriff at the 2023 Partners in Policymaking graduation on February 25, 2023, in Orlando.

Do you want to make a difference within your community and learn more about disability advocacy, but aren’t sure where to start? Consider applying for the next Partners in Policymaking class. 


What is Partners in Policymaking? It is a leadership training program for self-advocates, parents, and other caregivers, that focuses on disability advocacy within local and state government. In the course you will learn from experts on disability issues including transportation, supported vs. independent living, employment, education, and legal and civil rights. You will also get the opportunity to attend Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day in Tallahassee, where you will meet with a variety of legislators and speak on issues that matter to you. 


Nicole Coratti, a self-advocate and graduate of the 2007-2008 Partners in Policymaking class, didn’t realize the power of her voice until she took the PIP class. 


“It kind of opened my world to understand that there were organizations out there today that could help me find housing, a job, or whatever the topic may be. Going through these sessions, I learned that not only did I have a voice but I understood how much more I had to use it,” Coratti said.


Partners in Policymaking is a multi-week, in-person course that meets on weekends in Orlando from September to February. Participation requires substantial commitment of time, motivation, and energy. The program is sponsored by the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council.


As a self-advocate and graduate of the 2022-2023 Partners in Policymaking class, I would like to encourage other self-advocates to apply for the program. Before the program, I was not aware of all of the issues within the disability community. During the course, I learned about the importance of advocating and understood the power that my voice has. 


Applications are open until June 30, 2024. Learn more about PIP and download an application here. Self-advocates, let’s work together to make a difference! 


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