Enjoy! May 2023

Apply for 2023-2024 Partners in Policymaking The free advocacy training course, Partners in Policymaking, is taking applications from Minnesotans with […]

Woman standing in front of Partners in Policy Making sign.

Apply for 2023-2024 Partners in Policymaking

The free advocacy training course, Partners in Policymaking, is taking applications from Minnesotans with disabilities and parents of young children with developmental disabilities. The nationally recognized leadership training is presented in eight sessions over nine months, starting September 15. 

Applications are due on July 14. Applications at bit.ly/partnersapplication

“We help individuals be more effective in advocating for their needs. The result is self-confidence and understanding of disability law and policies ,” said Colleen Wieck, executive director of the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities (MNCDD). “As they gain experience in speaking up for people with disabilities, many have become leaders in their own communities.” 

National experts lead group participation exercises to emphasize learning. Over the program’s 35-year history, more than 1,100 Minnesotans have become leaders in their own communities. Many have described it as “life-changing.” Participants become effective advocates for themselves, their children and others with disabilities. 

Sessions cover the history of disability and self-advocacy movements, inclusive education, supported living, and competitive employment. Individuals consider how to influence county, state, and federal legislative processes. The monthly two-day sessions are held on Fridays and Saturdays, from September to May (with no session in December). The March session is on a Sunday and Monday, when participants prepare for and meet with legislators at the capitol. 

Costs for the program are covered by a federal grant. Child care and respite allowances are given, and overnight accommodations are provided for those who travel from outside the metro area to attend. Mileage is reimbursed, and meals are provided. Sessions are held at the Crowne Plaza Aire in Bloomington, near Mall of America and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. 

Limited to 35 Minnesotans, participants are selected by a panel of Partners graduates and representatives of MNCDD. The council introduced the Partners in Policymaking program in 1987, and, through expansion to other states and countries, has trained more than 27,000 people worldwide. 

“This program is based on the belief that systems change is best brought about through the efforts of those most affected by them, and we seek to arm these individuals with the tools needed to be successful in the public policy arena,” said Wieck.  

Those selected to participate in the program must attend all sessions and complete homework assignments.  For further information on class expectations, or to get an application form, go to bit.ly/class41website or contact Brenton Rice at [email protected], or 651-242-6589.

Steps for Autism 

The Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM) hosts its 23rd Annual Steps for Autism in Minnesota 9 a.m.-noon Sun, May 21 at Como Lakeside Pavilion, St. Paul. Individuals, families, businesses, organizations, and community groups are encouraged to register for free and build teams to raise money to support AuSM’s programs and services. The event doubles as a fundraiser and opportunity for people in the community to connect with needed resources and services for people with autism. Steps for Autism is approachable for all abilities, as each participate chooses their pace and distance – even if that’s from the parking lot to the resource fair at registration. Preregister as a team or go solo. FFI: https://sfa2023.causevox.com 

Can Do Canines open house 

Open house Sat, May 20, noon-2 p.m. at 9440 Science Center Drive, New Hope. Potential clients, volunteers or anyone interested in supporting the organization is invited to attend. Through a self-guided tour, attendees will watch a trainer working with an assistance dog, hear from a volunteer puppy raiser, talk with volunteer staff members, pose questions to client services coordinators about the application process, and meet graduate teams from each of the five types of areas Can Do Canines trains dogs: hearing, mobility, seizure, diabetes and childhood autism. The assistance dog demonstrations will be held at 12:30, 1:00, and 1:30 p.m., and the puppy raiser will speak at 12:15, 12:45, and 1:15 p.m. No pre-registration, though attendees will be asked to share some contact information when arriving. FFI: www.candocanines.org 

“Garage Tour” Hosts are sought 

Twin Cities dance and theater company Off-Leash Area is searching for “Garage Tour” hosts for the Seventh Neighborhood Garage Tour. The brand new family-friendly production “A Medicine Show from the 25th Century” will take place in September. The Garage Tour is the company’s performing arts access program where the company transforms typical two-car garages into black box theaters, complete with set, lights, stage, seating and performers to connect with underserved audiences across the Twin Cities metro area, with the overall goal of expanding participation in the arts. A host is a homeowner who has a two-car garage, who loves the performing arts, and thrives on getting people together for a fun community event! OffLeash Area is especially looking for households with a person with disabilities. FFI: 612-724-7372, www.offleasharea.org 

Post your event online 

Access Press would like to move more of its event listings online, and that is possible with our redesigned website. There is a word limit and we ask that those posting information include event costs and accommodations. Are ASL and AD offered? A quiet room?  Is there companion seating? Fidgets? Accommodations are much more than a ramp for many of us. That kind of information can help someone decide whether or not to attend an event. 

To post an event, go to www.accesspress.org, click the resources tab at top right, and go to the post an event line. 

A small web or print ad can also generate interest in an upcoming event. For questions about ads, email [email protected]. Access Press reserved the right to reject events if they do not meet our guidelines. Call the editor at 651-644-2133 ext. one or email [email protected] with events questions. 

Open Flow Forum 

The Artists with Disabilities Alliance meets via Zoom 7-9 p.m. the first Thu of the month. Upcoming dates are May 4, June 8. Virtually join artists with disabilities and supporters to share visual art, writing, music, theater and artistic efforts or disability concerns. Facilitators are Tara Innmon, Kip Shane and Springboard for the Arts. The gatherings are fully accessible. Anyone needing special accommodations should contact Andy Sturdevant. Funding is available for access needs. FFI: 651-294-0907, [email protected]  

Resources to Enjoy! 

The Enjoy listings are for arts events, banquets, fundraisers and fun events by and for disability services organizations. Schedules may be subject to change. Some venues may have mask and vaccine requirements. Please check with a venue or organization before making plans. 

The Minnesota Access Alliance (MNAA) provides an Accessible Arts & Culture Calendar for arts patrons who use accessibility accommodations such as audio description, captioning, ASL interpreting and sensory-friendly accommodations. Link to details at https://calendar.mnaccess.org. Be sure to check to find out COVID-19 protocol and if an advance reservation is needed for the accessibility service. 

Accessible events can be submitted to the MNAA Calendar (and MinnesotaPlaylist.com). A list of other venues follows the event listings. 

To receive a free monthly events calendar: email [email protected] and/or [email protected]. Ask for the entire events list or specific lists for ASL interpreting, captioning, AD, sensory-friendly accommodations or disability-related topics. For other accessibility resources or webinars presented by MNAA, sign up for emails at https://mnaccess.org 

  • "Stay safe, Minnesota. Take steps to protect yourself, & others from the COVID-19 virus."
  • "Stay safe, Minnesota. Take steps to protect yourself & others from the COVID-19 virus."

Many former refugees are helping to make Minnesota a better place for all. Learn how at mn.gov/dhs/outstanding-refugee
Access is Love. Celebrate Pride with MCD. June 29 & 30.