Personal Impact of Council Work

Check out the videos and quotes below from real Tennesseans whose lives were positively changed because of the Council.

Have a story to share with us about how the Council has impacted YOU? Let us know at!

From Our Members:

  • “My time on the Council enlightened me with wonderful new relationships, opportunities and experiences I will cherish for as long as the Good Lord allows me to stay on this earth.” – former Council Chair
  • “For me, being on the Council, I feel like I’ve learned a lot of tools, and even though I have been in the disability world for a long time, it’s different on the other side of learning policy things and how we can affect change, and how important our story is. I think that’s been really empowering for me.” – Current Council member

Partners in Policymaking ®Leadership Institute graduates:

  • "There are no words to describe how much Partners has helped me to realize that my life may never be the same as it was before my accident, but with my knowledge from Partners, I have hope.”
  • “Being a part of Partners has been a life-changing experience for me. Partners networking is incredible.”
  • “Partners in Policymaking taught us acceptance of all people with disabilities, taught us that there is hope for all those who have a disability, taught us that we are not alone and that one person can change the system, and then showed us how to plan to make those changes.”
  • “This is an amazing program, and I am truly thankful to have participated. My life and my family have been forever changed.”

Youth Leadership training graduates:

  • "I have started thinking positively about my disability.”
  • "I am able to do a lot more than I thought I could.”
  • "I learned how to look at my disability in a different way. People say I’m limited, but here I feel like the possibilities are endless.”
  • "What I especially liked and learned at the Forum was the feeling of independence, how to live on my own, and how to be more active in advocacy.”

Scholarship Fund users:

  • “My experience with the conference was a great experience. I benefitted from the conference in the way that it would better help me understand the disability I am living with, be a strong voice in self-advocacy to others, and better gain knowledge and understanding of the many different types of disabilities in people across America and around the world.”
  • “We met several other families, made connections, learned about resources and services available to us. These skills/knowledge can be used for our child and also to help other families that we may encounter in the future. Educating ourselves is the key to being a successful advocate for our child.”
  • “I found resources to help me have a better life. Now I feel better about my future.”

TN Disability Pathfinder callers:

  • “I actually see a glimpse of hope.”
  • “I’m very happy to know about this service because it is something that is very needed and I will be calling it again.”

Our readers (emails, magazine, social media, etc.):

  • “You are doing a great job and the information you share is incredibly valuable and important!”
  • “Love the weekly email newsletters!   I read them from top to bottom every time.  I am new to the disability world and the newsletters allow me to see all the ‘ponds’ that are available to cast multiple fishing poles into. I am casting as many poles as possible as fast as possible into as many ponds as possible to see what information I can catch.  some helpful; some not helpful. The newsletter is the map to the ponds.  Without the newsletter, I would have no idea where to start to seek information and help.”
  • “The Council's Breaking Ground and newsletters focus/angle is so positive and shines the light on persons with disabilities (and when appropriate, their families or other care providers) and highlights the strengths and successes of living with a disability.  The view is up close and personal and diverse in the coverage of all types of people with all types of disabilities.  As a parent of a child with a disability, the information is helpful and encouraging, and I truly appreciate it.”

Other people impacted by the Council’s work over the years:

  • “I like coming to book club and it is one of my goals to get out in the community. I like reading and having fun with everyone." - Next Chapter Book Club member (local inclusive reading clubs started by the Council)
  • “The most important accomplishment for my children was developing empathy for others. They…talked about other club members and how they admired their positive attitudes regardless of their disabilities.” – Parent participant in an inclusion project at Chattanooga’s Creative Discovery Museum
  • “I made so many great friends. I always had people who were looking out for me, and I felt like I belonged to something.” – Graduate of the first class of Next Steps at Vanderbilt, TN’s first inclusive higher education program on a college campus, funded by the Council