Iowa's New Community Ambassadors Have a Story to Tell (IA UCEDD)

March 1, 2020

Iowa's UCEDD recently launched a new program, sending the first cohort of Community Ambassadors to talk to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and their family members, about community living and the state's Money Follows the Person program (MFP). The new Community Ambassadors, Ty, Josh, Jess, Michael, Brady and Steph, presented in November at Woodward Resource Center, an intermediate care facility in Woodward, Iowa. They shared their stories as MFP participants, and the family member of a participant, who made the transition from congregate living facilities to community living through the MFP program. They talked about their own challenges and the benefits of community living.

The new program, managed by two UCEDD staff who serve as transition specialists for Iowa's MFP program, Jo Schumacher and Lori LaCarte, demonstrates the important role partnerships play in many UCEDD activities. Funding for the Community Ambassadors program was provided by Iowa's Developmental Disabilities Council, one of the UCEDD's "sister" agencies. The material to train the ambassadors was provided by Special Olympics Iowa (SOI). SOI staff worked with Schumacher and LaCarte to modify the Special Olympics beginner Global Messenger training, which is used to teach SOI athletes to give speeches.

The featured article of the Winter 2020 issue of the "Possibilities in Education and Training" newsletter introduces the MFP Community Ambassadors. The "Possibilities" newsletter is published quarterly by Iowa's UCEDD with funding from an annual state allocation for the Conner Training Connection grant program. Transition specialist LaCarte sums up the mission of the new program, "The Community Ambassadors have a story to tell, and we're going to do all we can to help them tell it."

Read the Winter 2020 issue of "Possibilities" to meet the Community Ambassadors:

For questions about the Community Ambassadors program, get in touch with Lindsey Robertson, who manages Iowa's Money Follows the Person program, at [email protected].