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A weekend of learning and celebration for parents* of children with disabilities

* When we use the term parent, we are also including youth guardians and are embracing all types of families (i.e., same-sex partnerships, grandparents raising grandchildren, co-parenting, kinship and foster parents, etc.). We support families of choice which can include parents, step-parents, domestic partners, neighbors, communities, religious leaders, and any other person the individual with a disability defines as a parent.

Due to society’s stereotypes, stigma, oppression, and discrimination, children with disabilities are encouraged to assimilate and “overcome” their disabilities. In this weekend retreat, parents* will come together to explore a disability justice model of disability and further their understanding of the concept of disability pride.

This weekend event will celebrate the lives of people with disabilities. Parents will dig deeper into disability history and culture while embracing disability as part of their child’s identity. The celebration of disability identity leads to self-empowerment and a sense of belonging. Parents play an essential role in creating an environment where children with disabilities can explore disability history, culture, and pride and people are encouraged to accept all parts of their identities.

Attendees of this weekend will:

Learn how to move through shame and gain pride
Explore the important role that disability history, culture, and pride play in the lives of people with disabilities
Discuss ways that family members can support the development of pride and power in the lives of their child with disabilities
Learn how to become an ally to the disability community

This weekend will be facilitated by Leah Smith and Theresa Metzmaker.

Smith is one of the stars of the documentary ‘Far from the Tree.’ Smith has nearly a decade's worth of experience working in the disability rights movement, serving in a wide variety of roles including case management, marketing, and quality assurance. Currently, she manages #LiveOn, a web-based, anti-suicide campaign aimed specifically towards disabled people. She has also served two terms as the Director of Public Relations for Little People of America, the largest support and advocacy group for people with dwarfism in the world. Finally, she does all this while being a Mom to a toddler, Hazel, and an infant, Silas.

Metzmaker is the Assistant Executive Director of Michigan Disability Rights Coalition and Her Power Director.  She started Her Power 10 years ago to celebrate teen girls with disabilities. Metzmaker loves being a mom of sorts to two amazing young women and a foster mom of two. Metzmaker’s work centers ending violence against people with disabilities.