Dear Readers,

GCDD anticipates announcing its new executive director soon. While we are in transition of new leadership, the staff is working hard, diligently, and succeeding in making sure GCDD’s mission is fulfilled by continuing to advance the lives of persons with developmental disabilities and to bring about social and policy changes that promote opportunities for people with developmental disabilities and their families to live, learn, work, play, and worship in their communities.

This back-to-school summer edition of Making a Difference Magazine will focus on an article about Individualized Education Plans (IEP) that will include tips for parents navigating school systems and the factors that contribute to the current state of special education. Articles in this issue of Making a Difference Magazine will also focus on IPSE and employment for people with developmental disabilities. We are excited about the updates regarding The GCDD Storytelling Project. This issue’s Include College article will highlight the University of Georgia.

GCDD is working meticulously to encourage Georgians to continue to practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated and tested, and wear face masks. By the time this summer issue of Making a Difference Magazine is published, Appendix K and the public health emergency expire. Will there be an extension?

Another great article in this issue is about a Columbus State alumnus who opened a boutique in Columbus, Georgia. She is providing opportunities for IPSE students in the GOALS program. The purpose of this program is to recruit students as employees and to go into the community to promote hiring people with intellectual developmental disabilities (IDD). This unique program through the boutique helps students gain real-world work experience.

Uniting for Change self-advocate John McCarty talks about growing up with a developmental disability (being nonverbal) as well as his wonderful experiences as a former IPSE college student and the great support he received from his professors. Our expert update will feature Parent Mentor Cheryl Grant. GCDD and Friends of L’Arche Atlanta have a great partnership managing The GCDD Storytelling Project and continue to work together to share stories of Georgia’s IDD community. This year through the project, GCDD along with L’Arche Atlanta will be providing advocacy storytelling training and are looking for participants for its Storytelling collection. The GCDD Impact section features an introduction to the GCDD 2021 impact map that depicts the geographic impact of our work in 2021. Look for upcoming events for the next quarter in our calendar of events.

While GCDD has made great steps in advocating for the IDD community, there is still much work that needs to be done. You too can do your part. Remember to contact your state legislators to connect with them to see how they can support disability rights. Your voice matters, and you can make a difference by speaking out.

Nick Perry

GCDD Council Chairman



Nick Perry
Council Chairman