MyODP News Online

C2P2 Participants Graduate from Program

A zoom screenshot of the various C2P2 participantsSaturday, January 16, 2021 was a celebration day for the participants in the 2020 class of Competence and Confidence: Partners in Policymaking (C2P2). After COVID-19 prevented live sessions from continuing; the classes moved to Zoom. Saturday the 16th marked Graduation Day for the 2020 participants. It was also the first-time previous years’ graduates and speakers were invited to attend.

C2P2 is a free leadership training and skill building program for individuals with Developmental Disabilities or Autism and/or their family members sponsored by ODP through the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University. Participants learn how to be effective advocates, and how to foster partnerships between those who need supports and services and those who make policy decisions. A variety of topics are explored, and the group is highly engaged in activities that will assist them in becoming effective leaders and policymakers.

Project Director of Leadership Development Cathy Roccia-Meier opened the graduation thanking everyone for their willingness, “to learn and evolve,” as they navigated the pandemic. Several graduates offered testimonials including married self-advocates Elizabeth Ferrari and Gabe Smaglik; another advocate MichaelAnn Byrne and parent Sadia Batool. Gabe Smaglik stated that, “C2P2 was important for every family member; and that it builds a sense of character and networking.” Elizabeth, his wife added that, “It helped with stuff I never knew I needed and helped to get resources and information.” MichaelAnn Byrne spoke of people having difficulty understanding what she was saying because she communicates differently, but, “they don’t have a problem when I’m self-advocating; they look at me like I have something to say.” Parent advocate Sadia Batool indicated that she looked at her life as pre-C2P2 and post-C2P2. Most importantly to her; where before her daughter experienced meltdowns, now she is thriving in the community. Sadia attributes that to her C2P2 ‘family’ and the many lessons she has learned from the sessions.

All recipients received a certificate and pin celebrating the achievement. Finally, previous graduates and session speakers were able to offer their words of wisdom and congratulations.

The 2021 class for C2P2 has been selected and they will begin their instruction shortly. Anyone interested in future courses of C2P2 can find additional information here.