This weekend, I’ll be heading to the metro to attend one of my final sessions with Partners in Policymaking.

Partners in Policymaking is a leadership training program through the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Disabilities that teaches individuals with disabilities, and parents of children with disabilities, what is available in disability services and supports to the people who need it the most, as well as what change is needed.

This expertise, combined with the policy tools and strategies that the program presents, are the best formula for creating a vision for the future. This vision focuses on the independence, integration, inclusion and productivity of people with disabilities in their communities.

This opportunity has been life changing.

I began attending these classes one weekend a month in September 2018 and will have a formal graduation in May. I am pretty excited to add this to the list of things I’ve accomplished in my life.

From the first weekend of class in September, one of the first things that resonated with me was that I wasn’t attending this program for me. Little by little, I was learning and bettering myself to be able to teach my daughters how to be self advocates.

My daughters Kennedy, who is seven, and Kolie, who is four, are thick as thieves. I believe Kennedy will help Kolie grow as a person more than I’ll ever be able to help her.

For those who don’t know, Kolie has Down syndrome. That has not stopped Kolie from doing and accomplishing everything alongside her peers. She is counting, knows all of her letters, numbers, sings, is in dance class and most recently, is registered for Kindergarten at Reede Gray Elementary for Fall 2019.

KINDERGARTEN PEOPLE!

How is this possible? We all know as parents, the time we have with our children is so incredibly short. I try my best to savor these moments when they are little – helping with reading, writing and homework while they still need it. I know that it won’t be long and they’ll be too busy doing other things to enjoy being with Mom.

Someday, when the time comes that I am not able to be with them, I want to know that I’ve taught them the skills needed to be successful in life.

Partners in Policymaking truly has been an incredible opportunity.

While my next goal is to finish getting my certification through the National Special Education Advocacy Institute and become a certified special education advocate by the end of 2019, applications are being accepted for the next Partners in Policymaking.

If you are interested in learning more, or applying to be in the Partners in Policymaking class 27, I have further information and registration paperwork. Please contact me through my e-mail at jaclynferrier@gmail.com.

You can also find the registration information online at Web site at mn.gov/mnddc/partnersinpolicymaking/class37/index.html.