Volunteer Advocates (VA) for Special Education Training Program Description
PIC’s Volunteer Advocate (VA) training program is a free 11-week (44-hour) course for parents and others who want to gain the knowledge and skills to support other parents of children with disabilities in the special education process, while at the same time, enhancing their own advocacy skills.
The VA program enhances PIC’s capacity to reach and serve families statewide. We therefore strive to ensure that the VA network encompasses every region of the state, including rural areas and inner-city neighborhoods, and that it is representative of the families PIC serves (the full-range of disabilities, children from birth to age 26, including underserved families). To support the needs of underserved families, PIC encourages applications from parents from traditionally underserved groups (minority families, including refugee families; families in which the parents and/or children have limited English proficiency; low-income families; and parents with disabilities).
The training series is offered twice each year for a total of 30 participants (with a maximum of 20 for each series). Since the program can only accommodate a limited number of participants each year, acceptance is not guaranteed. Preference is given to parents of children/youth with disabilities and to applicants from areas or populations currently underrepresented in PIC’s VA network, including people who speak languages other than English. Other factors used in determining acceptance into the program include:
- A completed VA application, including 3 references (1 professional reference) submitted to PIC by the deadline set in advance of each training series;
- A signed agreement acknowledging that persons accepted into the VA program may not charge for the advocacy/support they provide. Consistent with our goal of providing volunteer support to parents of children with disabilities, PIC does not accept professional advocates (those who charge a fee, or intend to charge a fee, for their services) into the VA program;
- Information (from the application, references and telephone interview) that indicates that the applicant will fulfill all of the program’s requirements, including:
- Attending all sessions in the training series;
- Completing a community service project;
- Volunteering their time to support PIC through a variety of opportunities, including providing individual assistance and support to other parents, for a minimum of 2 years;
- Assisting families in the special education process to increase the success of children with disabilities;
- Supporting families in working in partnership with their child’s school, and in using effective communication practices, as well as encouraging and supporting families in participating in school improvement/reform initiatives;
- Conducting themselves in a way that is respectful of the families they are supporting, teachers, school administrators, service providers, and others involved in the education of children with disabilities;
- Adhering to strict confidentiality requirements to protect the privacy of the families the program assists;
- Attending at least 1 special education workshop/year to ensure that their skills and knowledge remains current; and
- Responding to all reasonable requests from PIC, including completing an annual survey, for information about their VA activities.
Applicants who are not selected to participate in the program are encouraged to attend other PIC workshops to increase their knowledge and skills. A calendar of upcoming free PIC workshops and other training opportunities may be found on PIC’s website.
Participants are expected to attend all training sessions and be willing to volunteer their time to support PIC on Special Education through a variety of opportunities for a period of two years.
For more information or to request a paper application, contact us at:
54 Old Suncook Road
Concord, NH 03301
Coming soon! March 2017
Wednesday evenings from 5:30 to 9:30
Application Deadline: February 2017