Breaking Ground 114Summer 2023
Click the links below to read individual articles.
Introduction by Lauren Pearcy, Executive Director, TN Council on Developmental Disabilities
This summer marks an exciting anniversary: 30 years of our biggest leadership program, Partners in Policymaking®. Each year, approximately 25 people from all corners of Tennessee have learned about disability best practices and leadership skills. After graduating, these leaders bring their knowledge and passion back to their communities across Tennessee. As they do, they increase the impact of the program many times over. This is one of the most important ways our small agency makes a big impact throughout Tennessee: by investing in community leaders.
For most of the program’s history, Partners in Policymaking was held in person on weekends. This design worked well for the pre-pandemic era. In 2020, we (like everyone else!) suddenly shifted to virtual so that we could keep the program going. Now, at our 30th anniversary, we are going to step back and regroup. We will reflect this year on the program’s accomplishments, on celebrating our graduates, and on designing what’s next in the post-pandemic era. Watch our newsletters for updates and ways to get involved!
In the meantime, I want to share a photo of our most recent graduating class and their names/hometowns. These are your state’s newest leaders. Congratulations, Partners class of 2022-23!
2023 Partners in Policymaking graduates
- Heather Bensch - Ripley
- Becca Brnik - Cleveland
- Colleen Campbell - Madison
- Sarah Clinton - Nashville
- Olivia Crossman - Nashville
- Swathi Dasari - Brentwood
- Monica Everett - Cordova
- Barbara Goodrum - Paris
- Jennifer Hout - Franklin
- Gregory Hutchins - Murfreesboro
- Kevin Krieb - Christiana
- Nidhi Mali - Memphis
- Alexis May - Milan
- Katie Moore - Jackson
- Lia Nichol - Powell
- Edel Pace - Lebanon
- Justin Ralls - Greenfield
- Lindy Register - Bells
- Sidney Roark - Oak Ridge
- Dr. Sharon Webb - Memphis
- Fleur Whitehead - Clarksville
- Our new webpage on promotiong positive behavioral health for people with disabilities and their families, including our Healthy Behavior checklist
- Congratulations to our 4th graduating class of the TN Leadership Academy for Excellence in Disability Services, a collaborative efforts by the Council and the TN Department of Human Resources (originally run as article in our e-news)
- TN Disability Pathfinder - our state's free information hub for disability services, supports, and events. A collaborative effort by Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, the Council, and many state agencies.
- TN Center for Decision-Making Support - information, tools, and resources about decision-making options for people with disabilities. A collaborative effort by The Arc Tennessee, Disability Rights TN, and the Council.
- TNHousingSearch.org - Affordable, accessible housing can be hard to find for many people with disabilities. If you’re looking for options for independent living, you're not alone! There is a resource that can help: www.TNHousingSearch.org.
The Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA) offers the site, which is a database of affordable rental properties across Tennessee. Interested renters can search by:
- rent price range,
- number of bedrooms,
- accessibility features,
- and many other items.
Search results will show the property on a map and include pictures of the property. It will describe the property’s access to transportation and other nearby services. The listing will give you direct contact information for property managers and describe the application requirements. If you don’t have computer access, you can call 1-877-428-8844 for bilingual, one-on-one help finding the right rental home for your needs and budget.