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About The Partnership > Meet The Partnership Trainers

Partnership trainers are self-advocates or family members who live and work across the Commonwealth.


Teri Brewer

Region: Eastern

Affiliated Agency: Vision for Equality

I first learned of the Partnership when my son and I participated in C2P2 Transition into Adulthood in 2006. There are so many people who are not aware of services that are available to them through the Intellectual Disabilitries/Mental Retardation System. So many families need information and help and I like being able to inform and pass information along to those who need it. I have been an advocate for my son since birth to ensure that he has a self-determined, meaningful and exciting life. I have been a Family Trainer since 2007. I am a facilitator for Self Advocates United As 1and I am also the Southeastern Project Assistant for the Pennsylvania Waiting List Campaign. I train on all topics offered by the Partnership. I have been happily married since 1982 and have two adult children. I enjoy helping others and sharing information that I receive.

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William Brewer

Region: Statewide

Affiliated Agency: Self Advocates United as 1

I first learned about the Partnership when I participated in C2P2 Transition into Adulthood in 2006. I became a Trainer in 2007 and I have become more self confident. I learn a lot when I go to the Trainer trainings and I want to share what I know. I want to be an example and show people that everyone can participate and have a say in the way they want to live their life. I enjoy being in front of people and training other self advocates. I graduated from high school in 2007 and I enjoy traveling, photography, videography, swimming and amusement parks. I also like to try new things and meet new people.

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Darryl Degelman

Region: Western

Affiliated Agency: Achieva

In 2006 I became a Partnership trainer to learn how I could better serve my son and other Pennsylvanians with disabilities. With my background as a teacher, a graphic designer, and a graphics manager, I have been energized through my involvement with the Partnership. I enjoy traveling and meeting new people to share knowledge and experiences.

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Tina DiBiaso

Region: Eastern

Affiliated Agency: Vision for Equality

I became involved in the disability community shortly after my son was born, with an intellectual disability, in 1999. I started locally with the Bucks County Local Interagency Coordinating Council (Early Intervention), and was the chairperson for the Bucks County Down Syndrome Interest Group for several years. In 2008 I was fortunate to have an opportunity, through Vision For Equality, Inc., to be the coordinator for a grant from the Developmental Disabilities Planning Council, to bring information and training to families in Bucks County. We were able to re-start the Right to Education Task Force in Bucks County and reach out and connect families with valuable information and resources. I continue to reach out to families and individuals in Pennsylvania, because sharing knowledge and resources empowers all families to give their loved ones the most fulfilling life possible.

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Oscar Drummond

Region: Statewide

Affiliated Agency: Self Advocates United as 1

Oscar is a self-advocate who is passionate about teaching others with disabilities how to get people to acknowledge the person first and the disability second. Oscar has been involved in the self-advocacy movement for many years, including as vice-president of the Philadelphia chapter of Speaking for Ourselves, and has served on many committees dealing with issues faced by people with disabilities. Currently Oscar serves on the Planning Advisory Committee for the PA. Office of Developmental Programs and is a founding member and President of Self-Advocates United as 1, a statewide advocacy group. After applying and waiting for more than a decade, Oscar finally was approved for an apartment for public housing. Oscar's goal in life and as a Partnership trainer is to lead others to a successful future by teaching them to speak for themselves and to advocate for others. Oscar is a self-advocate trainer for the Partnership in the five-county region including Philadelphia.

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Michael Farsace

Region: Western

Affiliated Agency: Achieva

I learned about the Partnership through a flyer passed out at my daughter's school. I was driven to advocate for my youngest daughter, and wanted to better understand and navigate the ID/MR system. I have been learning and training with the Partnership for 4 years. I can train on Introduction to Waivers, Individual Support Plans, PUNS, Once You Have a Waiver and Introduction to the ID/MR system. I have four beautiful children. Working at the Partnership has opened many wonderful doors and filled my life with great new people.

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Brenda Folk

Region: Central

Affiliated Agency: Mentors for Self Determination

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Sharon Harper-Young

Region: Eastern

Affiliated Agency: Vision for Equality

Sharon Harper-Young is the mother of Junior ROTC Private First Class Joshua Harper . She is a graduate of Temple's Institute on Disabilities C2P2 program. She has been an employee of Vision for Equality Inc, for 12 years. She has dual roles as a family trainer and facilitator with the Partnership for over 6 years. Sharon is also certified by the AIDS Activities Coordinating Office (AACO) as a trainer. Through VFE she is educating people with disabilities on HIV/AIDS prevention and risk reduction. She is a member of the Planning Advisory Committee to the Office of Developmental Programs. Her favorite is quote is "Teach Josh how" by Joshua Harper.

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Lawrence Kubey

Region: Statewide

Affiliated Agency: Achieva and Self Advocates United as 1

Larry is an experienced self-advocate. He serves on many committees and boards in the disability community including the board of the PA Disability Rights Network. Larry lives in a group home in Pittsburgh and is active in the community. Larry is a statewide trainer for self-advocates with the Partnership.

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Camilla Lange

Region: Eastern

Affiliated Agency: Vision for Equality

I am the parent of a daughter with multiple disabilities. I believe that knowledge is power, and enjoy learning and sharing information about the ID/MR system to help empower other parents. I co-founded a Special Education parent support group in my school district and currently participate in another parent organization. I am also Project Assistant and monitor with IM4Q of Montgomery County.

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Debbie Leasure

Region: Central

Affiliated Agency: Mentors for Self Determination

I am the Partnership Coordinator and a trainer for Mentors for Self Determination (M4SD). Presently, I serve on the Crawford County Human Service MH/ID/MR Advisory Board and the Crawford County Quality Council. During the last 25 years, I have served on several workgroups for Crawford County Human Services. My volunteer hours are spent with the PA Waiting List Campaign and fundraising projects for Erie Homes for Children and Adults.

I am available to mentor (assist) family members or self-advocates statewide, one-to-one or in a group on issues, concerns, or questions regarding Pennsylvania's System for people with Intellectual Disabilities.

I have 2 children and I am happily married.

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Sam Maxwell

Region: Statewide

Affiliated Agency: Self Advocates United as 1

Sam is a self-advocate who loves to laugh and have a good time. Sam lives in his own house, which at times he shares with housemates. Sam has been a trainer since 2007 and enjoys teaching others about their right to have an everyday life. Sam is a statewide trainer for self-advocates with the Partnership.

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Carolyn Morgan

Region: Statewide

Affiliated Agency: Self Advocates United as 1

Carolyn is an experienced self-advocate who wants to share her knowledge and experience of self-advocacy to help others find a voice and the courage to obtain the things they need to become participating citizens. She has been involved with the self-advocacy movement for many years, serving as treasurer and President for Speaking for Ourselves. Carolyn currently serves as the co-chair of the Planning Advisory Committee for the PA. Office of Developmental Programs, and is a founding member and Vice President of Self-Advocates United as 1, a statewide advocacy group. Carolyn is a self-advocate trainer for the Partnership in the five county region including Philadelphia. In 2010 Carolyn received the National Crime Victim Service Award for her many years of work addressing issues of sexual abuse for people with disabilities.

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Ana Pacheco

Region: Eastern

Affiliated Agency: Vision for Equality

For the past 7 years, I volunteered as an advocate for families and parents with special needs; I recently joined Vision for Equality. I wanted to become trainer because of the huge need to get information to the Latino community, and I asked to help make this information available. When my husband and I first came to the United States for better services for our son, we did not know anything and had no information. I think it is great to bring the information to other families because I don't want them to have to struggle like we did.

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Emilio Pacheco

Region: Eastern

Affiliated Agency: Vision for Equality

Emilio Pacheco is a member of the Philadelphia Hispanic community who has been an activist in the disability community for over 20 years. He is a member of the Governor's Cabinet and Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities, Board Member of HUNE, Inc. (Hispanics United for Exceptional Children), Chairman of the Board of Partnership for Community Supports, Member of the Community Advisory Council/Temple University Institute on Disabilities, a member of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission/Disability Stake holder's Group and a member of EPIC/Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. He has also served on the Council of Advocates/Mayor's Blue Ribbon Commission and he is the Co-Chair of the Philadelphia Supports Coordination Advisory Committee. He has been appointed to the Bureau of Autism Services Advisory Board. In essence, he is not only committed to meeting the needs of his son but he is also very committed to making service systems and the community more responsive to individuals with Special Health. He has been the recipient of many awards for his outstanding leadership.

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Diane Pepper

Region: Eastern

Affiliated Agency: Vision for Equality

I have a degree in nursing and have been a Partnership trainer since June 2006. I have two daughters, both students in the Haverford Township School District. As the parent of a child with a disability I realize the importance of educating myself about the intellectual disabilities/mental retardation system and I enjoy sharing this information with family members during trainings. I am an IM4Q monitor, C2P2 graduate and active member on the Delaware County Everyday Lives Committee. I am currently pursuing a degree in social work and plan to work with individuals and families to identify and access resources and supports in the community. I am available to train in the eastern region.

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Elaine Plunkett

Region: Western

Affiliated Agency: Achieva

Elaine has been a consultant with the Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS) since 2000. Currently, she works for the DHS Office of Community Relations. Elaine has 20 years of experience in the human service system. She was the supervisor of the Individual, Family and Community Liaison Unit in the DHS Office of Intellectual Disability. She was responsible for developing informational materials and educational opportunities for self-advocates, families as well as community outreach. Additionally, Elaine was a supports coordinator for St. Francis Medical Center, Mental Retardation Services and a special education advocate at Achieva. Her background includes, Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication/Business; certified Portfolio Advisor and Trainer for Pennsylvania Family Development Credential program; and certified Person Centered Thinking Trainer and Facilitator.

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Mary Saunders

Region: Central

Affiliated Agency: Mentors for Self Determination

I have three wonderful boys. I have twins who are attending college, and my youngest son, who was diagnosed with CHARGE syndrome at birth, is attending our local high school after a long battle that resulted in myself having to take my school district to due process. I am happy to say that I won my due process case and my son is doing very well now. I have been very active in all three of my son's lives volunteering for several non-profit youth organizations. I also helped form and currently am Co-Coordinator of the Canton-Troy STaRS program which provides special sports teams, advocacy, recreation/social opportunites to children, young adults and their families with disabilities in our area.

I learned about the Partnership when I was invited by another family member to attend a training that was being provided in our county. I was ecstatic with the amount of information that my fellow Mentors for Self Determination provided and asked them to provide another training in our area so I could find more families to attend so they too, could gain the knowledge of the how the intellectual disabilities/mental retardation system is supposed to work in Pennsylvania. I have since joined the Mentors for Self Determination Training team and have been a family trainer for over 3 years.

I am available to train on a multiple of topics and travel throughout the Central Region. I also am available to mentor family members statewide in a one to one setting or in a family connection group setting on questions and concerns relating to the ID/MR System. I bring real life stories of what it has been like to battle the systems myself. Knowledge is Power, so let us give you the knowledge to make you powerful.

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Jeanine Schultz

Region: Western

Affiliated Agency: Achieva

Currently, I am the Partnership Coordinator for Achieva. Formerly, I was Parent to Parent Coordinator for Achieva and a past board member for the Down Syndrome Board of Western PA. I have a degree in Information Technology and am a certified medical assistant and certified phlebotomist. I continue to facilitate parent support groups and trainings. I have 4 children and am happily married.

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Lisa Tesler

Region: Eastern

Affiliated Agency: Vision for Equality

I have provided training on Inclusive Education, Circle of Friends, IEP Development, Understanding the ID/MR System, and Social Justice in Education for Students with Disabilities. I am on the Board of Directors for the Pennsylvania Education for All Coalition, participated in the Pennsylvania Autism Task Force, served as a leader in the Harrisburg Area Chapter of the Autism Society of America, provided individual technical assistance to parents of children with disabilities in IEP development, and acted as an advocate for students with disabilities at school meetings. I am involved with many parents in the central region of the state to encourage and promote full community participation and inclusion for all children.

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Rose Warman

Region: Western

Affiliated Agency: Achieva

I have 13+ years in the field of ID/MR. I began my career as a Parent to Parent Coordinator in 1996 at ARC Allegheny. Currently, a Program Director for ACHIEVA Home Care, which provides in-home caregivers for families caring for an individual with disabilities. I am a C2P2 and National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities Graduate. My one true passion in my life is my son Derek. Born in 1989 with severe disabilities, Derek has taught me more about compassion, patience and persistence than any other life lesson. I am working for the Partnership because I believe Knowledge is Power. I have found over the years in caring for my son Derek that the best source of knowledge comes from other parents and caregivers who also care for a loved one with a disability.

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Ned Whitehead

Region:

Affiliated Agency: Mentors for Self Determination

I am involved with the Partnership as a trainer with Mentors For Self-Determination. I have been affiliated with Mentors for over 3 years. I am a husband and a father of 4 boys, one of which was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. I have been involved in various community and youth sports organizations. I am most proud of being co-creator and co-coordinator of an organization that meets the needs of families, children and young adults through recreation and social opportunities in our area. I also have been a Special Education Advocate for over 20 years. I am available to mentor families across the state on the Intellectual Disabilities/Mental Retardation system. I am also certified to present in the central region of Pennsylvania on an array of training topics on the ID/MR system.

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