Get Involve
Change Your Life with Partners in Policymaking
Partners in Policymaking is a training program designed for parents of children with disabilities, self-advocates, and family members. Over 500 South Dakotans have successfully completed the training and many say it has been life-changing. South Dakota will be starting its 23rd year of Partners in Policymaking in November 2014.

Partners learn about current issues and best practices and become familiar with the policymaking and legislative processes at the local, state, and national levels. The overall goal is to achieve a productive partnership between people needing and using services and those in a position to make policy and law. Partners attend 2-day training sessions, six times a year, with each session beginning on Friday morning and concluding mid-afternoon on Saturday. Each session is devoted to specific topics with nationally known presenters.

"The world needs Partner graduates who hold social responsibility as a core value; not only to help people interpret the cards they've been dealt, but know what to do with those cards to make the best hand for them and for everyone," according to SD Advocacy Services, who conducts the training in cooperation with several sponsors, including SD Parent Connection. "Being a Partner means that you are not alone and you are a better person, friend, and member of our ever changing and challenging world. Partners will challenge you to think before you speak, speak before you act, and to act before you ever give up!"

Apply NOW for Year 23 of South Dakota Partners in Policymaking. Applications are due on September 20. To receive an application, contact Sandy Stocklin Hook at 1-800-658-4782 or you can apply on line at

Share Your Advocacy Stories

Share your story to demonstrate the importance of advocacy from an individual, family member, or caregiver in a new advocacy toolkit.

Genetic Alliance is partnering with Parent to Parent USA (P2P) and Family Voices (FV) to collect resources that will support individuals who wish to act as advocates on behalf of themselves, their families, or others living with the same condition. To date, we have collected over 240 resources that will help users build leadership, communications, outreach, and advocacy skills. The tools will be part of an accessible online toolkit, with advocacy resources grouped by topic area.

We would like to include a personal story that demonstrates the importance of advocacy from an individual, family member, or caregiver in each of the toolkit topic areas. For this project, ‘advocacy’ can include any example of a time when you or your family communicated a need, shared your story, or took steps to get something you wanted or needed.

Do you have a story to share about advocating in one of the following areas?
  • Youth Leadership
  • Transition to Adulthood
  • Insurance and Financial Assistance
  • Communicating about Your Health
  • Access to Health Care
  • Accessible Communities
To have your story included in the advocacy toolkit for individuals and families, please send a 1-3 paragraph summary to Sharon Romelczyk, Program Manager at Please only include information you wish to be shared, including any and all names or other identifying information. If we include your story on the toolkit, we will contact you to let you know your story has been selected.

Direct any questions about the stories, how they will be used for the toolkit, or the toolkit in general to

Other Ways to Get Involved:

Impact Public Policy