PIC’s Volunteer Advocate (VA) training program is a free 11-week (44-hour) course for parents and others who want to gain the knowledge and skills to support other parents of children with disabilities in the special education process, while at the same time, enhancing their own advocacy skills.
The VA program enhances PIC’s capacity to reach and serve families statewide. We therefore strive to ensure that the VA network encompasses every region of the state, including rural areas and inner-city neighborhoods, and that it is representative of the families PIC serves (the full-range of disabilities, children from birth to age 26, including underserved families). To support the needs of underserved families, PIC encourages applications from parents from traditionally underserved groups (minority families, including refugee families; families in which the parents and/or children have limited English proficiency; low-income families; and parents with disabilities).
The training series is offered twice each year. Since the program can only accommodate a limited number of participants each year, acceptance is not guaranteed. Preference is given to parents of children/youth with disabilities and to applicants from areas or populations currently underrepresented in PIC’s VA network, including people who speak languages other than English. Consistent with our goal of providing volunteer support to parents of children with disabilities, PIC does not accept professional advocates (those who charge a fee, or intend to charge a fee, for their services) into the VA program;