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Visions of Community 2014

Save the Date: Visions of Community 2014
Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Federation is pleased to announce its annual statewide conference “Visions of Community, a Conference for Parents of Children with Special Needs and the Professionals Who Serve Them” will be held on Saturday, March 8 at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston.


Michael Yudin

Two keynote presentations for Visions of Community will feature Michael K. Yudin, Acting Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services for the US Department of Education and Dana and Brooke Yarbrough. Dana is the Executive Director of Parent to Parent of Virginia. Her daughter Brooke operates Brooke’s Happy Tails Dog Boarding, a microenterprise she started in 2012.

Assistant Secretary Yudin serves as the principal adviser to the US Secretary of Education on matters related to the education of children and youth with disabilities, as well as employment and community living for youth and adults with disabilities. The mission of his office is to achieve full integration and participation in society of people with disabilities by promoting inclusion, ensuring equity, and creating opportunities for people with disabilities.

Dana Yarbrough

Dana Yarbrough


Brook Yarbrough

Dana Yarbrough, a native of Massachusetts, serves as the program leader for family support and self-advocacy projects at the Partnership for People with Disabilities located at Virginia Commonwealth University. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Non-Profit Leadership, and in May will earn a Master’s Degree in Transition Secondary Special Education from The George Washington University. Her daughter Brooke is a 19 year-old young woman who has physical, intellectual and sensory disabilities. The Yarbrough family has an entrepreneurial spirit and Brooke has followed in those footsteps by opening her own business one month after graduating with an IEP Diploma from Varina High School in Richmond, Virginia.

Breakout workshops at Visions of Community will include topics on special education advocacy, managing challenging behaviors, transition to adulthood for students with disabilities, inclusion, policy initiatives, assisstive technology, healthcare, bullying, parent leadership opportunities, early childhood, autism and more. In addition to approximately 30 sessions in English, a full conference strand of many of these topics will be offered in Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Somali, and Vietnamese.

The conference Exhibit Hall typically features over 75 vendors and resources for families. The conference is a wonderful opportunity for families and professionals to network and learn about important resources.

Free bus transportation from 5 locations across the state, a limited number of childcare slots, and interpreting services will be available for the conference. Registration opens on January 3rd with an early bird registration fee of $75. A limited number of partial scholarships for families of children with special needs will be available and can be applied for when registration begins. Please check the Federation website for further details.

2014 Community Partnership Awards to be presented at Visions of Community 2014

Each year the Federation for Children with Special Needs presents Community Partnership Awards to individuals in Massachusetts who have successfully promoted an inclusive environment in their community. Once again the Community Partnership Awards ceremony will be part of the opening session of the Visions of Community 2014 Conference.

Do you know a parent, student, teacher, administrator, health provider, coach, neighbor or other individual who has worked to create and support the inclusion of individuals with disabilities, those at-risk, or those who face cultural or linguistic barriers, in your school, health care or other place in the community? Please visit the Federation’s website to nominate someone you know for a Community Partnership Award.