Impact Stories

See how Partners alumni are creating positive change in their communities.

Graduates of Texas Partners in Policymaking are having an impact on disability policy and working to improve the lives of Texans with disabilities.

Are you a graduate who is making an impact? Tell us about it!

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Maribel Leos, Class of 2021

Maribel Leos, Texas Partners in Policymaking class of 2021, has been making a significant difference in her hometown of Brownsville, Texas.

As vaccine centers began to open in her community, Leos noticed that the centers were not ideal for people with disabilities who would not be able to stand or wait for hours to receive a vaccination. She partnered with Down By The Border, a local nonprofit, and helped set up a drive-up vaccine clinic for people with disabilities in their community.

"Being a part of this vaccine drive-up clinic was one of the most humbling emotional experiences because I think of my own son... Deep down knowing and seeing that other children with disabilities are safe because of this drive-up clinic gives me hope that one day in the not so distant future I’ll be that mom, so happy in tears because her world is registered to receive the vaccination in an environment accommodating to her child's disability," Leos said.

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Jessaca Bond, Class of 2020

Jessaca Bond is a self-advocate from San Antonio. Jessaca has been an active advocate in Texas for many years and her testimony on supported decision-making was hugely impactful during the 2015 legislative session.

Bond applied for Texas Partners in Policymaking because of her desire to expand her advocacy abilities and to learn about advocacy strategies. “I hope to use what I learn to better connect with other advocates and legislators, and to become a more effective advocate,” Bond said.

Through her experience in Partners, she wanted to encourage others to get involved with advocacy work. She developed a presentation that promotes the importance of legislative advocacy. The presentation showed individuals how to get involved and stay informed throughout the legislative process.

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Catrina Longoria, Class of 2021

Catrina Longoria, Texas Partners in Policymaking class of 2021, is working to increase inclusivity in her community.

Through her Partners capstone project, Longoria is working to create policies and procedures that allow children with and without disabilities to participate in local livestock shows. "Starting with the local livestock association, I will create and implement policies and rules that encourage and provide supports for all children desiring to participate in the livestock show," Longoria said.

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