Iowa Advocacy Connection- 2016 Issue 1

Issue 1, 3/25/2016

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Articles in This Issue:

ID Action Local Capitol Day

On March 9, ID Action spent the day at the Capitol with an advocacy group from the Clarion area. They traveled to Des Moines to attend an advocacy training and meet with their legislators to talk about issues they are concerned with. The group had the opportunity to meet with one of their legislators, Senator Dennis Guth.

ID Action Local Capitol Day supports local advocacy groups to be engaged with local and state decision-makers and lawmakers. If you are part of an advocacy group and interested in an advocacy training, please contact us at or 866-432-2816.

Senator Guth took the group onto the Senate floor for a picture.

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Make Your Mark! Conference

2016 Make Your Mark! Conference
October 5-7, 2016
Honey Creek Resort
12633 Resort Dr, Moravia, IA 52571

Preparation. Participation. Power.
Mark your calendar and join us for the 2016 Make Your Mark! Conference at Honey Creek Resort on Rathbun Lake. This year’s conference will Prepare you with information to build your self-awareness, skills and confidence to Participate, stand up, speak up, and connect with others to grow the Power to influence others to make decisions that support positive change.

Watch this year’s conference video announcement at

Registration opens July 1, 2016
Continue to check for more information about conference sessions, speakers and activities.
After the conference sessions, you can take advantage of the recreational opportunities offered by Honey Creek Resort State Park at no additional fee. 

  • Go for a hike on the Savannah Ridge Interpretive Trail
  • Rent a bike from the front desk (weather permitting)
  • Go swimming at Buccaneer Bay Waterpark
  • Check out a Field Pack to learn a new skill. Packs are available in a variety of topics on a first-come-first-served basis and include all the materials you need to get started. Topics include geocaching, tracking, invertebrate investigation and birding.

Learn more about on this year’s conference location by visiting

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DD Awareness Month

In the 1987 proclamation declaring March as National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, President Ronald Reagan stated, “I invite all individuals, agencies, and organizations concerned with the problem of developmental disabilities to observe this month with appropriate observances and activities directed toward increasing public awareness of the needs and the potential of Americans with developmental disabilities. I urge all Americans to join me in according to our fellow citizens with such disabilities both encouragement and the opportunities they need to lead productive lives and to achieve their full potential.”

During this time, we make it a point to focus on people with developmental disabilities getting involved and making a difference by sharing the stories of several individuals. We hope these stories encourage and inspire you to get involved in your own community. You can watch these stories at

Personal Story of Chris Evans

It was important to Chris Evans, a junior at Grandview University in Des Moines, to be an active member of his college community. Since he was young, Chris struggled with communicating but realized that if he wanted to achieve his goals he was going to have to overcome this obstacle. Chris said when he was in middle school he broke out of his shell and said, “Hey, I can do this!”  Ever since then, he has been looking for opportunities to communicate and be part of his community.

Since starting at Grandview, Chris has made himself known in a big way. To get to know more people than just those in his major, he started attending the Grandview sporting events. After a while, Chris was frustrated with fans just sitting and not getting into the game. He said, “I just wanted to get them going. I needed to get them engaged in the game, do cheers, get them motivated.” So he did and has now achieved Super Fan status among the Grandview community. 

While Chris has one more year as the Grandview Super Fan, he is also thinking about his future. After graduation, he hopes to teach band or chorus at a local high school. Check out Chris in action by visiting


Special Olympic Athletes

On March 1, 2016, athletes from Special Olympics Iowa raised awareness of the hurtful impact of the R-word and asked others to pledge to eliminate the word from their vocabulary. Mary Kate Dorrlacombe said she attended the event to “raise awareness to people that we need to end it. We need people to realize it is a word that insults us. Even though people are messing around, we don’t want the word around.”

Charity Hodson, Des Moines, spoke in Speaker of the House Representative Linda Upmeyer’s office of the impact the R-word has had in her life. She said, “This word has made me, friends like me, and my family feel small and insignificant throughout our lives.” She asked those listening if they could imagine a life without the R-word because she can and, “it would be a wonderful world”

Governor Terry Branstad read a proclamation to challenge everyone to replace the R-word with another R-word: RESPECT.

Visit to hear more from the athletes on why they are trying to eliminate the R-word. Visit for more information on the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign.


Community Conversations
We are bringing the disability discussion to communities this month with our Community Conversations. These conversations allow individuals with disabilities to voice their thoughts on how ID Action can reach its goals of growing advocacy skills, creating new leaders in the community and creating change that supports community. Check the ID Action website or to find out if there is a Community Conversation near you.

Follow along or participate in the discussion on social media! Here are some hashtags to see how others are getting involved and raising awareness for DD Awareness Month: #DDAwareness, #sidebysidedd16, #DDAMIowa, #NDDAM, #CommunityConversation.


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