The Arc of Greater Tarrant County — Youth Leadership and Advocacy Expansion Project

Youth Leadership and Advocacy Expansion Project

Statewide Need
There is a continued need for the development of training programs and resources to assist Texans with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and their families learn leadership and advocacy skills. To do this, leadership development and advocacy skills training programs must exist in many different areas around the state. Because it is unlikely that any one organization can provide enough funding to meet the demand, it is imperative that organizations that offer this kind of training work with others. This type of collaboration can help to increase the number of identified leadership development and advocacy training programs that are able to provide culturally appropriate training for individuals with IDD.

Project Goal
Provide monthly training, peer-to-peer support and the framework for individuals with IDD to participate in real-world advocacy with local, county, school and state governments.

Project Summary
The Arc of Greater Tarrant Country trained, organized and provided ongoing support to individuals with IDD, family members and advocates to actively participate in the local level in leadership, self-advocacy and public policy advocacy activities. A team was assembled to educate local officials and leaders with the goal of furthering disability-related laws and regulations and changing the view of disabilities in the community through public education and proactive advocacy.

The Arc established personnel and key supports and services. Commitments from area entities for use of space, marketing, support, administrative resources, materials, personnel, funding and related needs were obtained and maintained, especially through partnership with MHMR Advocacy & Support Department and the IDD Needs Council.

During the 2011 legislative session, the project organized and educated over 300 Tarrant County self-advocates to actively participate in advocacy efforts. These individuals provided testimony and participated in meetings with legislators, email and letter campaigns and Capitol visits to preserve services in a very difficult economic climate.

Project Period
Sep 2008 – Aug 2011

1051 Haskell, Ste. 106
Ft. Worth, TX 76107

Geographic Reach
Tarrant, Johnson, Hood, Wise and Parker counties