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Focus on Education

Current Feature Stories

Focus on Education

In this Education edition of Public Policy for the People, we will be focusing on the Georgia Dep...     Read More
Treasure Maps: The Georgia Storytelling Roadshow

Six-City Roadshow Travels around Georgia, Telling Stories about People with Disabilities

Treasure Maps: The Georgia Storytelling Roadshow 2021, hosted by the Georgia Council on Developme...     Read More

What Going Back to School Will Mean for Georgia Students with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities

As the new school year approaches in August, teachers, administrators, parents and students are p...     Read More

Topics

Nick Perry and Eric E. Jacobson

Our New Council Leadership Team

By Eric E. Jacobson and Nick Perry
July 12, 2021
This edition of Making a Difference will introduce you to our council leadership team. You will note that GCDD Chairman Nick Perry has co-written this letter with Executive Director Eric Jacobson. This will be a regular column. Nick was appointed to GCDD in November 2020 and elected chairman in January 2021.

Now is the Time to Get Vaccinated

By Eric E. Jacobson
April 12, 2021
It has been over a year since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. Since then, we have struggled with how the virus might impact us or a loved one. We’ve worn masks and isolated ourselves from others. When people got sick and went into the hospital, we could not visit them.

Our brothers and sisters living in nursing facilities have been left alone, and many have passed away without the comfort of friends and family. Our only hope was that scientists would develop an effective vaccine.

Picture of Eric Jacobson for Winter Viewpoint Issue

Hello 2021!

By Eric E. Jacobson
January 11, 2021
I am sure we are all happy to see 2020 leave and a new year begin. We have seen a virus take over our daily lives. Many Americans protested in the streets as Black men have been murdered by the police. People lost their jobs as restaurants and shops closed. And we experienced the most divided presidential election ever. It was a year of unprecedented strain, and I, for one, am glad it is over!
Include College Corner

Students Excel at Georgia Tech

By Clay Voytek
July 12, 2021
Elliott Smith has known he wanted to work with children since the seventh grade. After starting as an intern, Smith now works 35 hours a week as a teacher’s assistant at the Phase Family Learning Center in Alpharetta. “It’s a

East Georgia Makes Higher Education an Easy CHOICE

By Clay Voytek
April 12, 2021
Theresa Davis retired from her position as a special education instructor and high school transition coordinator after more than a decade, but she chose to continue working with young adults with disabilities who wanted to attend college after high school.
"Include College Corner" logo is on the lower right hand corner. Photo is of three women wearing graduation attire posing together, smiling.

Columbus State Helps Students with I/DD Reach GOALS

By Clay Voytek
January 11, 2021
Amid the pandemic, college students in Columbus, GA still need to connect. One might be playing Dungeons & Dragons on a Zoom call, another exercising independently during a group FaceTime. Some of these students have intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD),
SELF-ADVOCACY SPOTLIGHT: Susan Burch and Michelle Simon

Essay Forty-Six

By Michelle Simon
July 12, 2021
I would like to share with you a message from my dear friend and use her message as a conduit for my own. We have known each other for a while but have become extremely close during COVID-19. She is
Self Advocacy Spotlight

Uniting for Change Impact Committee at Work!

By Uniting for Change Collective Leadership Team
April 9, 2021
Hello from Uniting for Change, a statewide network of self-advocates who are “uniting Georgians and influencing change by speaking up and taking control of our lives.” We are a group of folks in Georgia who have intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD) and
Self Advocacy Spotlight.

How Self-Advocates Build Relationships with Legislators

By Uniting for Change Collective Leadership Team
January 11, 2021
Uniting for Change continues to grow the self-advocacy movement in Georgia by staying connected during the pandemic and learning more about how to build relationships with legislators so that our voices are heard. Since the pandemic, Uniting for Change has
Summer 2021

What’s Happening in Washington?

By Serena Lowe
July 12, 2021
Federal Disability Policy Updates If 2020 felt like a long crawl across the Sahara Desert, 2021 feels a lot more like being in a race at the Indy 500 here in Washington! Check out the whirlwind of activity occurring both

What’s Happening in Washington?

By Erin Shea
April 13, 2021
It’s been a busy 2021 so far, which has brought some important wins for the disability community. Below we provide a few key updates and what we expect to see in the coming months. COVID-19 Response American Rescue Plan Act:
Photo of the White House with sky blue background. Winter 2021.

What’s Happening in Washington?

By Alison Barkoff and Erin Shea
January 11, 2021
It’s been a busy few months, with ongoing advocacy with Congress and federal agencies while simultaneously preparing for a new administration and Congress that begins in January. Below we provide a few key updates and lay out expected priorities for

Focus on Education

By Alyssa Miller, PsyD
July 12, 2021
In this Education edition of Public Policy for the People, we will be focusing on the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE)’s plans to spend the dollars provided to the state’s educational system through the American Rescue Plan Act. These funds
GCDD Advocacy Days

2021 Virtual Advocacy Days Bring Greater Access to Event for People with Disabilities

By GCDD
April 10, 2021
Over 550 disability advocates registered to virtually attend the 2021 GCDD Advocacy Days – the first time the DD council has hosted the days exclusively online since the initiative’s inception. Hosted by the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) in

Georgia’s 2021 Legislative Recap

By Naomi D. Williams
April 9, 2021
In March 2020, we experienced the world come to a glaring and hard stop. Now in 2021, things are slowly opening back up, including the Georgia State Capitol. Legislative session feels, looks and is different for everyone this year. We

Welcoming Community Movement Adds Think Tank Partner to Coaching Group

By Jennifer Bosk
July 12, 2021
TeMaya Eatmon has been chosen as the Think Tank Partner for the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) initiative the Welcoming Community Movement (WCM), overseen by Global Ubuntu. Eatmon joins other leaders who are coaching those participating in the WCM
Welcoming Community Movement

Welcoming Community Movement Gaining Momentum across Georgia

By Jennifer Bosk
April 12, 2021
A new focus has changed the 10-year-old Real Communities Initiative, funded by the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD), into a totally new movement. The program, now the Welcoming Community Movement (WCM), has shifted its goal to creating welcoming communities
Photo of open faced palms in a circle.

Real Communities Transitions to Welcoming Community Movement Fund

By Jennifer Bosk
January 11, 2021
Ten years ago, the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) launched its Real Communities Partnership (RCP) initiative to equip community members at the local, grassroots level to work together toward common goals to improve their community. Now being led by
GCDD Five Year Strategic Plan: Goal 1: Systems Change. Goal 2: Self-advocacy. Goal 3: Targeted Disparity & Diversity.

Progress on GCDD’s Five Year Strategic Plan

By GCDD
July 12, 2021
The federal government requires all Developmental Disabilities Councils to create new strategic plans every five years. The Five Year Strategic Plan determines how each Council will allocate funding to create systems change for individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD) and family

GCDD Funding Boosts Key Georgia Projects Seeking Federal Support

By Clay Voytek
April 12, 2021
For the last 35 years, the Quick Response Research Award Program has awarded small grants to a variety of academic institutions to support social and behavioral science in the wake of disaster. As the pandemic began last year, Georgia State
Graphics with blue background and people connected

Statewide Disability Organizations Form New Network

By GCDD
January 11, 2021
The Georgia Developmental Disabilities Network (GDDN) is a consortium of 15 Georgia disability-focused organizations that are committed to connecting people with resources during the COVID-19 pandemic. Launched at the beginning of the pandemic in Spring 2020, GDDN has hosted monthly
Lipson Advocacy

Going Back to School

By Leslie Lipson
July 12, 2021
For students with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD), I don’t think we’ll be able to find many students that haven’t typically had some negative impact around their education for the past two years during the COVID-19 disruptions. For many students, especially if
GCDD: Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities

Let’s Talk About Advocacy

By GCDD
April 13, 2021
Featuring Nandi Isaac, Self-Advocate & GCDD Council Member Nandi Isaac, self-advocate and GCDD council member; and Eric Jacobson, executive director of GCDD sat down for a virtual interview on what advocacy means and how it helped the disability community during
Center for Leadership in Disability

How COVID-19 Affected People with Disabilities and Direct Support Professionals

By GCDD
January 11, 2021
Erin Rachel Vinoski Thomas, PhD, MPH, Director of Health and Wellness at Georgia State University’s Center for Leadership in Disability, sat down with Making A Difference to share the findings of her research on how COVID-19 affected people with disabilities

Model of Hope

By Moira Bucciarelli
July 12, 2021
“I’m ready to tell my story! Have you seen any of my movies?” This is how Eric Naindouba, a soon-to-be 14-year-old with cerebral palsy greets us as we meet for the first time in a local McDonald’s. Eric is with

The Kidpreneur

By Shannon Turner
April 9, 2021
It’s a rainy Saturday afternoon in Columbus, Georgia. The Christmas tree is up in the Le Denney house, but it’s not yet been decorated. Seven-year-old Kalel, Kal for short, runs from one end of the house to the other, full
Man and woman posing closely together.

The Mayor of Lithonia

By Shannon Turner
January 11, 2021
When Tira Harper walks into the small, square building that serves as Lithonia’s City Hall, everyone knows who he is. Even before he gets there, when Tira tells his colleagues he’s going, they joke and say, “Tira, you’re the mayor!”