Funded by the Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council, the purpose of the Leadership Development Opportunities (LDO) Fellowship Program is to build the leadership skills and abilities of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) in Michigan. Michigan Disability Rights Coalition (MDRC) runs the LDO program.
Each year, 10-12 LDO Fellows will be selected to participate from the pool of applicants. MDRC especially encourages, women, people of color, and other traditionally underrepresented people with developmental disabilities who want to develop their leadership skills to apply.
LDO Fellows will participate in learning retreats and co-lead trainings with MDRC staff. These trainings will be held across the state for people with developmental disabilities, and community members. The trainings cover disability pride, leadership, and inclusion.
Participation in the LDO Fellows program requires a significant time commitment. Annually, fellows commit to attending and participating in two in-person sessions. These sessions are each three days long. MDRC covers travel, lodging, food, and accommodation needs. Fellows also commit to joining in online learning and sharing opportunities. MDRC assists LDO Fellows who do not have computer and internet access to gain both. LDO Fellows will be supported to choose the areas in which they wish to further develop their own leadership skills.
Topics covered in the LDO Fellows Trainings include:
- Disability identity, history, culture, and pride
- Intersectionality of identities including race, gender/gender identity, disability status, LGBTQIA identity, and economic status
- Personal leadership skills and strengths
- Growth mindset
- Values, goals, and passions
- Finding mentors
- Getting involved in issues of interest
- Real Inclusion
- Saying no
- Serving on boards and commissions
- Public Speaking
- How to create change
Opportunities to continue to learn and grow will be offered between and after each session.
Fellows will commit to participating in the program for one year. The LDO Fellowship is competitive position with paid public speaking experience opportunities.
2019-2020 LDO Fellows
Tonnieo is from Detroit and has lived there most of his life until moving to Melvindale to be around different cultures. Tonnieo’s mother taught him in order to grow you must learn about other cultures. Tonnieo is the oldest of four children and has three younger sisters. Tonnieo has a background working as a Peer Mentor helping other people with disabilities to achieve their life goals. He has graduated from Mumford and is currently an undergraduate at Ferris State University in the Integrative Studies Program. He is planning to work on a Masters Degree in Human Services from Ashford University and will graduate in 2022.
Megian graduated from Montgomery High School and has also attended school in Pontiac. She is a MORC Peer Mentor who helps individuals with disabilities. Megian has worked at Target for 14 years and enjoys participating in a monthly art class. She is very close with her family and enjoys spending time with her brothers and sisters.
Renae lives in Riverdale and went to Alma highschool, Delta College, and Eastern Michigan University. She is married and has two sons. Her sons are 19 months apart. Renae enjoys spending time with her husband, family, and friends. Renae acquired her disabilities from a Stroke. Renae’s personal goals include being a good wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend, leader, and volunteer. She enjoys cooking, baking, gardening, mowing her lawn, crafting, and being with her dogs and cat.
Catherine is a graduate of the Leaders in Policy Advocacy (LIPA) program and is very passionate about addressing and managing the nationwide shortage of personal care attendants. Catherine is currently working towards a degree in Social Work. She hopes to obtain a job working in a position where she can advocate and help people with disabilities.
Dominick has cerebral palsy and is from Ypsilanti. He is a firm and true believer in independence for people with any type of disability. Dominick also believes strongly in being a productive citizen of society that is why he strives and advocates for the betterment of people with disabilities. Dominick’s passion is to help youth find their voice and encourage them to succeed past the limitations and barriers society has placed upon them.
Yuself is fully engaged in the disability rights movement to secure equal opportunities and equal rights for people with disabilities. He has advanced issues of accessibility and safety in transportation, architecture, and the physical environment; equal opportunities in independent living, employment, education, and housing; and freedom from abuse, neglect, and violation of individual rights. Yuself is also a champion for people with physical disabilities and works to insure accessibility and safety to public areas such as city streets and public buildings and restrooms.
2018-2019 LDO Fellows
Caitlin is 32 years old and enjoys helping others and volunteering. Caitlin lives independently in her community with support staff as needed. She likes to spend her time doing arts and crafts as well as participating in and watching sports.
Joanna is from West Michigan and is a woman with invisible disabilities. She is very proud of her disabilities and she enjoys training others on disability identity and pride. Joanna works in a deli and volunteers in her local church community. She loves her family, friends, God, and cat. She enjoys baking and entertaining people in her home. She also loves nature. Joanna is involved with alternative pathways and lives independently in her community. Her passion includes educating others on mental illness to reduce and eliminate stigma associated with mental illness.
Stacy is a woman with physical and visual disabilities. She is very active in her local church. Stacy earned a Bachelors of Science in Psychology from Aquinas College. She was also a member of toastmasters for ten years. Currently, she is writing a novel and enjoys crocheting, reading, and discovering obscure music. Stacy is passionate about fitness, and complementary medicine. She is advocating for inclusion in these areas through the LDO Fellowship Program. She has experience in working with past LDO Fellows on peer mentoring and educating peers on sexuality and healthy relationships.
Randall was born and raised in Grand Rapids Michigan. He loves walking outside, sightseeing, and wrestling entertainment. Randy’s goal is to continue helping people. He is on the board for Thresholds and works at First United Methodist Church promoting and helping people in their work program.
Glen & Sandra Corning
Sandy Corning enjoys Special Olympics, Noorthoek Academy, dancing and listening to the oldies along with writing poetry and hanging out with friends with disabilities. She and Glen have been married for 27 years.
Glen Corning enjoys Special Olympics, Noorthhoek academy, sports, listening to gospel music and doing jigsaw puzzles along with watching Scooby Doo when he’s not with his friends.
Glen and Sandy are excited to share their life experience and their energy as they participate in the Leadership Development Opportunities Program and lead trainings on disability history, culture, and pride.
2017-2018 LDO Fellows
Rachel DeMaagd is a person with a developmental disability. She lived in group home for 11 years and now has an apartment of her own. She volunteers at United Church Outreach Ministries greeting clients, helping people use the food pantry and providing support at events. She enjoys spending time with friends her cat Zorra. She also loves baking and cooking.
Kelsey Grigg is a woman with invisible disabilities and has been volunteering in her community for 18 years. Kelsey has been involved in many volunteer organizations in Marquette County including the hospital, where she has been volunteering for two years, the Upper Peninsula Welfare Shelter, and the DJ Jacobetti Home for Veterans. She is also very involved in her church.
Jamie Junior is a woman with Cerebral Palsy and the parent of a child with mental health disabilities. Jamie is passionate about self awareness and inclusion. A native Detroiter and a graduate of Detroit Public Schools, Jamie received an Associate Degree from Detroit College of Business. Jamie has been working for over twenty years and has received several achievement awards including the 2005 JVS Strictly Business “Employee of the Year” award. Jamie is excited to be an LDO Fellow and use her skills, personal experience, and training to “Educate others about what it means to have pride in our history and culture as disabled Americans, and advocate for the tools we need to be the best version of themselves and to be the definers our own success.”
Sonia is a compassionate individual who loves to help others. She especially enjoys working with preschoolers. Sonia likes to cook and sometimes enjoys crafts. Sonia is excited about the LDO Fellows Program “Because it allows me to be a part of a diverse group of individuals who share experiences and opinions and learn from one another while educating others about persons with disabilities.”
Frank is active in the Lansing Area LGBTQ community. He has a lens for others by being blessed with disability pride and autism. He has an associate’s degree and likes to research to improve himself and share his findings with others. Frank is a dedicated hard worker at Peckham. He was the first annual winner of the City Pulse Inclusion Award in 2016. He has volunteered with the Michigan Rehabilitation Council and the Center for Independent Living. Frank feels honored to have been chosen as an LDO Fellow and hoping to empower himself and others.