logo for Leaders In Policy Advocacy

Leaders in Policy Advocacy (LIPA) is a leadership development program for adults with developmental disabilities and parents of minor children with developmental disabilities. The goal of LIPA is to train and support participants to become leaders in disability advocacy. LIPA will be offered through a hybrid training format of both in-person and online training. In 2023, LIPA was restarted under Michigan Alliance for Families. The program was previously administered through The Arc Michigan.

Training topics include:  

  • Disability History  
  • Inclusive Education  
  • Assistive Technology & Social Media  
  • Self-Determination and Alternatives to Guardianship  
  • Person Centered Planning  
  • Access to Housing and Employment Benefits and Systems of Support  
  • Systems Change  

Space is limited to 20 participants. Applications were accepted February 1 – 29, 2024. Selected participants will be notified in March.

If you have any questions, contact Karah Ley at karah@michiganallianceforfamilies.org or 517-574-1517


What is the typical training schedule?  

Our LIPA 2024 program consists of 6 monthly training weekends starting in April 2024 and running through September 2024. Training generally starts on the Friday afternoon at 1:00 PM and runs into the evening. Plan for your Friday training to run until 8:00 PM. Our Saturday sessions start the next morning around 8:30 AM and we are finished by 3:00 PM. Please note that these times may very slightly for certain weekends. 

 What does hybrid training format mean? 

Our hybrid format means some weekends are in person and some are virtual over Zoom. In 2024, we will have 4 in person training weekends and 2 virtual training weekends via Zoom. The in person trainings will be held in Lansing, Michigan on the following dates: April 19-20, May 17-18, August 16-17 and Sept 20-21. The online training weekends will be: June 21-22 and July 19-20. 

I have a conflict on one of the training weekends, can I still apply? 

Yes. LIPA participants are allowed 1 excused weekend, if necessary. We understand life circumstances or last-minute emergencies or events may happen. However, the first training weekend is mandatory in order to complete the program.   

 Will my hotel stay be included and covered? 

Yes. Friday night hotel stays are included with LIPA, if requested. We also cover meals and parking expenses for all participants during the in person trainings. You are not required to stay overnight if you live close and wish to return home for the night.   

The training location is far from my home, do you reimburse for gas milage? 

Yes. We provide program stipends to our LIPA participants in the form of Gift Cards/Personal Checks in efforts to assist with the expenses that occur for you to participate in the program (i.e. gas, child/respite care). Participants will receive half of their stipend on the first weekend and the other half on the last weekend.  

Is there homework? 

There will be reflection assignments given between training weekends. Participants are expected to complete each assignment by the next month’s training. They are not graded but rather meant to expand on what you learned from the previous training. There are a total of 5 reflection assignments throughout the LIPA program. 

Do participants earn a certificate? 

Yes. Participants will receive a certificate of completion at graduation on the final training weekend. All program requirements must be met in order to complete the program and receive a certificate.  

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