Three Plymouth Residents Accepted Into Statewide Leadership and Advocacy Skills Training Program | Plymouth / Medicine Lake


Selected from a statewide pool of applicants, Plymouth’s Suniket Fulzele, Cassie Kallis and Yesmean Ragheb have been accepted into the Minnesota Partners in Policymaking leadership training, which begins this fall.

Participants include adults with disabilities and parents raising children with intellectual disabilities. Fulzele’s four-year-old daughter has cerebral palsy, does not speak and is unable to sit, stand or walk on her own. She needs special attention in the activities of daily living and caregivers are very difficult to find. Often overwhelmed by a lack of information and confused regarding county, state, and other services, he hopes the class will guide him on where to find information. He would like to be an advocate for people with disabilities.

Kallis has three children (two boys and a girl) with fragile X syndrome. One of her sons also suffers from autism and epilepsy. Her sons’ intellectual disabilities, inability to communicate, and anxiety often lead to self-injurious and aggressive behaviors. They are unaware of their own personal safety. These challenges make it difficult for the family to be in the community or public places. Both boys receive speech therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy, in addition to special education services at school. The services now offered to her sons were obtained after Kallis and her husband did extensive research and strongly advocated for such services. Kallis is interested in learning more about service delivery and community, public policies, and how to make schools more inclusive. Kallis hopes to one day become a full-time advocate for children and adults with disabilities.

Yesmean Ragheb is raising a child with Down’s syndrome and receiving several therapies to improve motor skills and speech delays. Equipment and drugs are very expensive, and with the shift from early intervention to pre-K classes, funding sources are shifting away from Medicare. As her daughter grows up, Ragheb expends more physically and emotionally to take care of her daily physical needs. Ragheb is a Family Connector for the Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota to help families navigate resources for loved ones with Down syndrome.

Partners in Policymaking was created by the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disorders. “The goal is to train state-wide leaders to partner with school systems, medical and business communities so that all people with disabilities are supported as they become confident, independent and independent citizens. contributors across the state, ”said Dr Colleen Wieck, Executive Director of the Governor’s Council.

The Governor’s Council introduced the program in 1987, and through its expansion to other states and countries, Partners has trained 1,109 people in Minnesota and more than 27,000 people worldwide.

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