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  • Writer's pictureArc Public Relations

The Volunteer Advocacy Project

The Volunteer Advocacy Program (VAP) training, part of an initiative with the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center in Nashville, is held twice each year. Various topics related to special education advocacy are taught: evaluations and eligibility,


individualized education plans, assistive technology, discipline provisions, behavior intervention plans, non-adversarial advocacy techniques, legislative change, least restrictive environment, and extended school year services. The training included information supplied by professors, attorneys, parents of children with disabilities, and advocates. Reading assignments of relevant laws and regulations accompany each class session.


Johnnie Hatten, Melody Liu and Holli Foster
2017 Volunteer Advocacy Participants

Johnnie Hatten, Melody Liu and Holli Foster (pictured, from left) recently graduated from the Volunteer Advocacy Project (VAP), which The Arc Mid-South offers in association with Vanderbilt Kennedy Center in Nashville. The 12-week class trains individuals who want to become advocates for families as they navigate their way through the world of special education.


Forty hours of instruction focuses on key disability legislation such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which ensures that students with disabilities are provided with free appropriate public education tailored to their individual needs. After completing the program, each VAP graduate is required to advocate for four families during Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings to ensure that their children receive a quality education.



2016 Volunteer Advocacy Participants
2016 Volunteer Advocacy Participants

2015 Volunteer Advocacy Participants
2015 Volunteer Advocacy Participants

2014 Volunteer Advocacy Participants
2014 Volunteer Advocacy Participants

2013 Volunteer Advocacy Participants
2013 Volunteer Advocacy Participants

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