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					                          2007 DMD Conference Call Series
                               for Local Coordinators
Topic:         Disability Pride
Date:          May 18, 2007
Time:          3:00pm – 4:00pm (eastern)

Alicia Ballestas, NJ
Anna Lahipon, Broward, FL
Arthur Plitt, RI
Debbie Roberts, WA
Kelly Jiras, NJ
Kelly McKenzie, Joliet, IL
Jeffrey Tamburo, Syracuse, NY
Judy Hodge, Emporia, KS
Linda Kelly, Des Moines, IA
Marybeth Luby, NJ
Rick Klein, Auburn, NY
Suzanne Hopkins, Cincinnati, OH
Teresa Holmes, AL
Trish Farmer, TN
Yasmin Reyazuddin, MA

Janice Ta, Interim National Coordinator, DMD, AAPD
Marie Campos, contractor, Mentoring and Leadership Programs, AAPD

DMD Forum
We recently had our DMD Forum in Orlando, FL. Over 40+ local coordinators converged for our
first national DMD Forum, which consisted of two days of events. The first day included
presentations from local coordinators who gave insights and ideas for creating innovative DMD
programs, engaging mentors, fundraising strategies, and making DMD Year-Round.

All information from these presentations is online in the toolkit online at the bottom of the page:

We also had a DMD Visioning Exercise to discuss where we wanted to see DMD grow. We
discussed funding opportunities, sponsorships, rural DMD, ideas for tapping into mentors and
mentees in local areas, and ways that AAPD could help at the national level.

The next day, we had a joint forum between NAGC and AYLF. Over 140+ individuals who were
involved with youth and mentoring programs nationally came to the joint conference.

Teresa Holmes: I thought it was a really great dialogue. I thought the joint meetings were a
great success.

Janice: Kelly Jiras, who’s on the call now, also did a great presentation about their DMD
Program in New Jersey.
Kelly: Thank you. Marybeth, Renee, and Alicia and I were able to bring a lot of the idea back to
our steering committee in NJ. It was a really valuable experience and I look forward to doing
again next year.

State Coordinators
We need more liaisons between national coordinator and local coordinators. We currently have
24 state coordinators, but our goal is to have state coordinators in every state by the end of the
year. If you are interested, please contact Janice at The main
responsibilities of a state coordinator are to help us with recruiting as necessary in the state,
helping AAPD maintain an up-to-date list online so people can always find current info, increase
interaction that national coordinator has with local coordinators.

INTRODUCTION: Common question “Why do we call it Disability Mentoring Day?”
Some have told us that the name seems to stigmatize students and it makes parents and
teachers reluctant to have their students participate in DMD. AAPD’s stance is to keep the word
Disability in the name. We want to make sure that DMD is exclusive for youth and jobseekers
with disabilities because if we broaden it too much, then it comes to include everybody. We
also believe that this is a great opportunity for our communities, students, business community,
and mentors to learn more about disability pride and that’s why we invited Rebecca Hare to be
the speaker for today.

FEATURED GUEST: Rebecca Hare is the Project Coordinator for the National Consortium
on Leadership and Disability for Youth housed at the Institute for Educational Leadership in
Washington DC. NCLD-Youth is one of 15 Youth Led Resource, Information, and Training
Centers funded by the Administration on Developmental Disabilities. NCLD/Youth is currently
working in 9 states supporting young leaders in creating state and local policy to educate
students in K-12 public schools about disability history and awareness. An ardent advocate for
youth-led models of leadership development, Rebecca has worked with a number of groups
such as the National Youth Leadership Network and the National Council on Disability (where
she served as the Vice-Chair of the Youth Advisory Committee for 3 years). She has consulted
or given expert testimony to the National Council on Independent Living, the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission, the World Bank, the Social Security Administration's Ticket to Work
Advisory panel, the Presidents Task Force on Employment of Adults with Disability, and the
committee for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Workforce Investment Act Reauthorization. Her
publications include “Youth Development and Youth Leadership: A Background Paper” from the
National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth, articles on civic engagement for
the newsletter Impact, “the 411 on Disability Disclosure,” “Paving the Way to Work: A Guide to
Career-Focused Mentoring,” and various policy agendas for the National Youth Leadership
Network. She received her Bachelor's Degree in Political Science, from the University of CA
Santa Cruz in 2001 and is looking to continue her education in the near future. Website at

How have people on this call addressed the question of “Why Disability
Mentoring Day” at the community level?

Jeff Tamburo: I have visited the folks in NM and I know that Albuquerque calls it Mentoring
Day. I understand where it’s coming from when we are talking about inclusion, but if we don’t
use the word disability, the whole point is to heighten awareness of Disability Employment
Awareness month in October and if you don’t then it gets diluted and people may not be as
aware of the abilities of our community. If you take away the word, disability, it’ll fall into
mentoring days that fall for other folks.

Kelly McKenzie: If you don’t include Disability, it’ll be a regular mentoring day. We need to
show employers that people with Disabilities can be helpful in the work environment.

When was the last time you’ve had to answer this question and how did you handle it?
How did they receive it?

Kelly Jiras: I’ve had that question raised by some parents who were in a very inclusive group
and they didn’t want her to be included. I explained to her that I’m a big advocate for inclusive
education, but a lot of times other mentoring opportunities, though they are not exclusive of
students with disabilities, students with disabilities are often overlooked and so this is an effort
to shift some focus to them, especially in October. To the parents I try to explain where the word
comes from.

How have people reacted when you’ve talked about disability pride at the
community level?

Marybeth Luby: Mostly it’s about outreach. Pride comes through when awareness and
determination come through. The more you are in the classrooms and out there, the easier that
hill is to climb. School is the best place to start. There are some family organizations that are out
there as well. I’ve found those resources from CIL’s, but the best way is to start with workshops
right in schools. Once the child starts feeling powerful about who they are, there’s no stopping
them. I go right to the schools and any parents organizations, from PTA’s to disability specific

Janice: Yesterday, I was speaking with Alan Yates from Alabama, and he told me that one of
the things he does in rural areas and he’s been able to bring in people who have participated on
DMD from the past to answer any questions about disability pride. He’s also contacted previous
employers who have been part of DMD in the past. These employers help Alan with outreach
efforts in his own community. So keep a list of employers who have come to understand DMD
and have them be advocates in your school outreach efforts.
Discuss working with educators: Rebecca’s gone out to high schools to discuss history. How
many of your bring in disability history and use that in educating students and teachers. I’d like
to add some of the resources that Rebecca has about disability history and have that online as
a resource.

Marybeth: I use history from the very beginning as the first lesson I ever teach so kids get some
good groundwork on where we’ve been, how far we’ve come, and what they’re charged with. I
like to share with them the fact that they see a lot of disabled parking signs and curb cuts and
ask them where these even came from. As teenagers, they’ve almost been living with this
scenario almost all of their lives. I’d like to show them through Ed Roberts in the 70s that that’s
where that fight started. So they themselves don’t see all that work that they’ve done as nothing
and take that for granted.

Rebecca: Young people with disabilities are really getting on the move, and for the first time in
20-30 we’re seeing leadership from the youth. In a lot of ways, the disability community was
built on the actions of youth – Justin Dart, Judy Heumann, Ed Roberts. We have a long history
of youth led, consumer driven history. I went to the same high school as Ed Roberts, but he was
never mentioned once when I was in high school.

Janice: Local coordinators often get question “Why Disability Mentoring Day?” If you were a LC,
how would you address those concerns?

Rebecca: Looking at the Preamble of the ADA says it best: Disability is a natural part of life.
One in every 5 people will experience disability at some point in their lives. Part of the real

challenge of IDEA and ADA and some of these positive and powerful legislation has been the
loss of disability identity. Prior to IDEA, kids were segregated and that’s how they are exposed
to disability. Many people believe mainstreaming is the ideal. Difficulties do not get you benefits
or accommodations. Difficulties do not get you a note-taker or interpreter.

Janice: How would you talk about disability with parents?

Rebecca: We discuss transition, but we never talk about transition as it involves the parents.
How do parents transition from being a parent advocate to becoming a peer advocate? When
that child graduates, the student has to speak for themselves and we need to educate parents.
The best way to get parents more involved is to use other parents as mentors.

Janice: How can this be worked into Disability Mentoring Day.

Rebecca: Connect with your CIL’s, PTA’s and find your champions in the parent movement. We
have an event called Mom Hazing where we have two parents who know self-advocacy could
run an orientation for the new parents. We can talk to parents as much as we want, but if we’re
not parents, they’re not going to listen. It’s good to have someone speak your own language.

It’s not hard to incorporate disability history into the curriculum. You know, when you’re teaching
about art and you’re talking about Frida Kahlo, mention the fact that she has a disability. When
you’re listening to music, talk about Jay Z the hiphop artist. Presidents? Talk about how many
different presidents had disabilities. Lincoln, FDR, Teddy Roosevelt, Madison, Monroe. Kids are
being raised with low expectations. You never hear in your classes that these presidents have

Janice: Who are your contacts in the school system? How would LC’s be able to educate
teachers when they’re planning DMD?

LC in Florida: Our youth have started working with the district superintendent on coordinating
Disability Awareness Day for Teacher in-service days.

We came up with that in West Virginia because WV is the first state to have disability
awareness to have disability awareness integrated into the curriculum. It was started by 20
young people and signed into law last year and this is all youth-driven with the involvement of

HS/HT efforts are another place to talk more disability in the community.

Janice: In organizing DMD, how would you incorporate disability pride info on the actual day?

Rebecca: We have the disability history timeline and we have mentors do it with the youth. The
timeline starts in 1837 and it goes all the way up to 2005. We put dates up on the wall and in
their mentor/mentee pairings, we have them put the events on the right dates on the wall. This
teaches them how language/attitudes have changed with social stigma or public policy. Mini-
disability film festival also is an interesting way to get people to start having a dialogue about

LC: That’s a tough question because we don’t we don’t proactively incorporating disability
pride. In a sense the total of the effort of DMD is to have an outcome where people with
disabilities would have pride and people in the community would see that people do have

Rebecca: It’s important to have pride in yourself, but it is also important to build pride in being a
part of the community to give the understanding that there are 54 million people going through
what you’re going through on a daily basis.

All of our staff also read many highly recommended books about the disability movement. Also
important to encourage employers to talk about disability when talking about diversity.

Debbie, WA: Can you email us a list of internet weblinks where we can get some of these
resources? Videos we can show at events.

Rebecca: Yes, there’s the Disability Media Institute to create a searchable database to see
what young people with disabilities have to say. This will not be online for another 5 years, and
we are working actively with Scott

Janice: also has a lot of info on their website about how to discuss
disabilities with people who don’t identify as people with disabilities or with people who don’t
know much about disability.

Summary -- Ways to incorporate disability pride right into DMD
  1. Have mentor/mentee pairs put together a disability timeline. Put up dates on the
     wall and see let pairs match dates with seminal events in disability history.
  2. Show a film about disability issues on DMD
  3. Share book lists and have staff be well informed about disability history and
  4. Get in touch with teachers during teacher in-service days to discuss DMD and
     incorporating Disability Pride and history into their curriculum.