DDPC Connects - March 2019

DDPC Connects - March 2019

DDPC Connects

March 2019

In this month's newsletter:

  • Grant Updates: Partners-in-Policymaking®
  • Amplify-NY: Youth Leadership Forum
  • Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month
  • Meet the Members: Shameka Andrews

Grant Updates

The DDPC funded the Yang Tan Institute at Cornell University to continue to implement the New York State Partners-in-Policymaking® program, which provides advocacy training's for individuals with developmental disabilities and their family members. The purpose of the training's is to equip self-advocates and advocates with skills to help shape local and state disability policy. While enrolled in the program, ‘Partners’ learn policy areas such as education, employment, and service coordination.

Partners in Policimaking graduates

Pictured above: Partners community learning session in Albany, NY - 2017

Carol Blessing, LMSW is the principle investigator and program director/training coordinator for the NYS Partners-in-Policymaking program.

She explains:

“The New York State Partners-in-Policymaking® program is a leadership development and advocacy training program specifically developed for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities and their families. Graduates of the program join a national network of advocates dedicated to ensuring the rights for every person living with a developmental disability today and for generations to come.” 

To learn more about the Partners in Policymaking® program, click here

Youth Leadership Forum

Youth Power! Amplify NY


Through YOUTH POWER!'s Amplify NY, young people with ID/DD learn to build their skills and prepare to be leaders. This is accomplished through the Youth Leadership Forum (YLF), a four-day training program for young individuals with development and other disabilities.

YOUTH POWER! compliments this program with a workshop series for parents and caregivers called Foundations for Leadership. This program provides caregivers of individual with ID/DD tools to support young people.



Yout Leadership Forum graduates
Youth Leadership Forum graduates


Foundations for Leadership training session picture
Foundations for Leadership training in session


In 2019, YOUTH POWER! will offer three free regional YLF sessions. These events are listed below.

  • May 18-21 | Holiday Inn Liverpool | Syracuse, New York  
  • July 13-16 | Holiday Inn Downtown | Rochester, New York 
  • October 12-15 | Hyatt Regency | Long Island, New York 

To learn more about the program and how to register, please visit here.  

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan designated March as National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. Since then, March has provided self-advocates, family members, caregivers, and all whose lives are touched by disability an opportunity to promote inclusion.

Each year, the National Association of Council on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) celebrates the month by sharing resources from each State's Council, and by launching a social media campaign to raise DD awareness. This year, NACDD provided a theme for each week through the month of March.

Listed below are this year's weekly themes, as well as links to videos the DDPC developed to help raise DD awareness in each of these life areas! 

This year’s theme(s):
March 1 – 9: See Me as Your Classmate – Education 

Educating Students with Disabilities on SUNY Community College Campuses

March 12 - 16: See Me as Your Coworker – Employment

CVS Disability Inclusion in the Workforce

March 19 - 23: See Me as Your Neighbor – Community Living 

Shared Living Tax Benefits

March 25 - 30: See Me as Your Friend – General 

The Inclusive Recreation Resource Center


Meet the Members


Shameka Anrews picture


Shameka Andrews 

"I love the people, I love the conversations and the work that we do and feeling that I am part of something that is making a real difference."









Shameka became a DDPC Council member in 2012, and currently serves on the Community and Systems Change Committee. As a member she enjoys how "proactive" the Council is as a decision body. 

Shameka first heard of the Council in 2005 while working at Self-Advocacy Association of New York State (SANYS). She has continued to work for SANYS as the Capital Region Community Outreach Coordinator. She is responsible for tabling at outreach events, organizing Board Meetings, and providing testimony and advocacy before legislative bodies. She also provides content for the SANYS website and social media platforms. 

Shameka also works for the Ms. Wheelchair New York program. There, she sits on a panel of judges and works closely with title holders as they create and conduct advocacy efforts. Shameka also held the Ms. Wheelchair New York title in 2007 and advocated for more accessibility in schools.

On top of a professional career and community involvement, Shameka also managed time to write a children’s book titled, Butterfly on Wheels. The message of this book is about discovering who we are as individuals and how to celebrate our differences.

Butterfly on Wheeels book image