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People First of Tennessee

Since 1989, the Council has supported Tennessee's statewide self-advocacy organization, "People First," in a number of ways. People First of TN  works to promote self-advocacy among Tennesseans with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Outcomes of the Council’s work to support People First of TN (PFT) over these years included:      

  • Funded an advisor staff position.    
  • Funded statewide trainings in the areas of peer advocacy, self-advocacy, local chapter development and leadership.
  • Hosted national conference of People First organizations in TN
  • Funded People First to participate in the development and creation of the national self-advocacy organization (Self Advocates Becoming Empowered)
  • Established new local Tennessee chapters
  • Provided training to create teams that would advocate for accessible transportation ("Transportation for All")
  • Trained self-advocates to be able to train others in the areas of self-determination and self-advocacy ("Shifting the Power")
  • Wrote and published book of stories about people who have successfully transitioned from developmental centers to life in communities of their choosing
  • Trained people on the Dept. of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities' waiting list on self-determination

In 2018, the Arc Tennessee received funding from the TN Disability Coalition and the TN Dept. of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities to revitalize People First as a statewide organization. The Council remains involved in these efforts, and our Policy Director Lauren Pearcy serves as a mentor for a local chapter.

Learn more about these recernt efforts on The Arc's website and explore their new chapter manual about how to start a chapter in your community.