Grants Expand El Paso Disability Leadership/Advocacy Programs


October 20, 2011

Contact: Melissa Loe
Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities
(512) 437-5441

Senator José Rodríguez

Senator José Rodríguez

Senator José Rodríguez announced that the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities awarded grants to the Paso del Norte Children’s Development Center and the Region 19 Education Service Center. Each grant will provide $40,000 for the first year to expand local disability leadership and advocacy training programs.

“Paso del Norte will use its grant to add a parent-to-parent mentoring component to its Leadership Academy for Families,” Rodríguez said. “It will also expand community outreach, recruit 40 more families to participate in the academy, and help parents obtain developmental, educational, medical and social services interventions for children with disabilities.” The parent mentors will learn about resources available and how to help and advocate for other parents. This includes helping with ARD meetings which determine special education supports and services for students with disabilities. The leadership academy started in 2001 using funding from TCDD and other sources.

“Under the second project, the Region 19 Education Service Center is partnering with Paso Del Norte to expand their Youth Leadership Forum,” Rodríguez explained. “This grant will provide advanced leadership development and advocacy building activities for young people with disabilities, ages 16-21, who need continued support and advanced training to participate in school and community organizations.” It will also develop a peer-to-peer mentoring program for young people with disabilities that uses adult leaders with disabilities. The Youth Leadership Forum program started in 2002 and received a five-year grant from TCDD in 2006 to expand the program and provide year-round activities.

TCDD is a 27-member board, dedicated to improving the lives of the 452,620 Texans with developmental disabilities. The council uses a variety of activities — such as grant projects, technical assistance, public awareness and leadership training — to enable people with disabilities to live, grow up, attend school and work in the community. Developmental disabilities are severe, chronic disabilities that occur before the age of 22, such as autism, cerebral palsy, intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental illness, traumatic brain injury and epilepsy.