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Council and T.A.R.P. Host Leadership Academy for Youth with Disabilities

Wednesday, June 07, 2017 | 12:31pm

On June 13-15, 2017, the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities will partner with T.A.R.P., Inc. in Paris, TN to offer a new leadership training program for more than 20 local young adults with disabilities who will soon be exiting high school. This training aims to help prepare youth with disabilities for the transition to adulthood and place them on a positive path towards postsecondary education and training, employment in the community and living more independently. This Youth Leadership Academy, free for participating youth ages 12-22, is named “School2Life (S2L)” and will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day at Bethel University.

School2Life Academy, State & Local Partners Supporting the Program

Staff from T.A.R.P. and the Council will lead and facilitate the June 13-15 S2L youth leadership academy.

Topics covered will include:

  • The History of the Self-Advocacy and Independent Living Movements
  • The Importance of Speaking up for Yourself
  • State and Community Resources
  • Developing Independent Living Skills
  • Putting Technology to Work for You
  • Communicating with Legislators/Telling Your Story

In addition to Council and T.A.R.P. staff, speakers will include representatives from the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and St. John’s Community Services discussing employment resources for jobseekers with disabilities; representatives from Commercial Bank and Trust presenting on financial planning for youth; representatives from the Department of Environment and Conservation (which oversees state parks like Paris Landing State Park) sharing information about employment opportunities within state parks; and Sheriff Monty Belew.

T.A.R.P. and the Council appreciates the contributions of state and community partners who made the program possible, including: Bethel University, which donated space for the program; Henry County Medical Center, which donated lunch; Carrey Counseling, which provided free “swag bags” for participants; and all the local organizations and businesses that contributed door prizes.

What is T.A.R.P., Inc?

T.A.R.P. (Training, Advocacy, Referral, Peer Support, & Transitions), Inc. is an 501 (c) 3 nonprofit, non-residential, charitable organization in Paris, Tennessee directed and staffed by individuals with disabilities. T.A.R.P. works to promote the dignity, independence and civil rights of Tennesseans with disabilities. The Centers’ goals are to offer cross-disability services, promote active citizenship and work with others to create services that support self-determination and full participation in community life. Founded in 2005, T.A.R.P. is the first truly rural-based Center for Independent Living in Tennessee, serving eight counties in Northwest and North-Middle Tennessee including, Benton, Dickson, Henry, Houston, Humphreys, Montgomery, Stewart and Weakley.

What is the Council on Developmental Disabilities?

The Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities is a state agency. The Council leads initiatives statewide to improve disability policies and practices, educates policymakers and the public about most promising practices in the field of disability services and facilitates collaboration and coordination across public and private organizations.   The Council produces informative publications about disability policy and practices. Contact the Council office to sign up for Breaking Ground magazine and their email newsletters by emailing or calling 615-532-6615.

For more information about developmental disabilities, the needs of citizens with developmental disabilities and their families in Tennessee, or the work of the Council, contact the Council on Developmental Disabilities Communication Director Emma Shouse at 615-253-5368 or or visit