RED WING-- Minnesota Partners in Policymaking chose Red Wing resident Crystal Henderson to join the organization’s eight-month leadership training beginning this fall.

Participants include adults with disabilities and parents raising children with developmental disabilities. Henderson has two children with emotional, behavioral and sensory issues related to autism, anxiety, attention deficit disorder and neurofibromatosis. Henderson’s children require constant monitoring for self-harm and are resistant to therapy, according to a news release.

As with many rural areas, few quality resources are available, Minnesota Partners in Policymaking said. Henderson wants to use her voice to speak out to find better solutions for her children to be enrolled in transition services and job counseling. Educating others about disabilities and neurofibromatosis is also important to her.

Partners in Policymaking was created by the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities. Dr. Colleen Wieck, the executive director of the council stated, “The goal is to develop leaders statewide to partner with school systems, medical and business communities so all individuals with disabilities are supported as they become self-confident, independent and contributing citizens across the state.”

The council introduced the program in 1987 and through expansion to other states and countries, Partners has trained more than 27,000 people worldwide.