Women and Girls Foundation to hold first TRAIL graduation on May 11

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The Training Regional Advocates to Impact Legislation program supports people with disabilities in learning strategies to make systemic change

(May 10, 2021) — The Women and Girls Foundation (WGF) will celebrate the first cohort to complete its Training Regional Advocates to Impact Legislation (TRAIL) program during a graduation ceremony from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 11 via Zoom.

Thirty-four graduates participated in the 10-month training program, which helped them gain skills to advocate for the needs of the disability community. They learned about the history of disability rights and developed methods of advocating and working with legislators. Through workshops and monthly meetings, the TRAIL trainees became informed experts on critical policies, including paid family and medical leave.

Dr. Josie Badger, CRC, DHCE, created the TRAIL program in 2020, and WGF launched it in collaboration with Centers for Independent Living throughout Pennsylvania. It’s funded by FamilyValues@Work, Paid Leave for All and Laurel Medical Supplies.

“TRAIL gave advocates with disabilities the opportunity to come together and develop skills to truly impact the decisions that will affect their lives,” Dr. Badger said. “For this population, paid family and medical leave impact the trajectory for their lives and that of their families.”

During the duration of the program, the cohort wrote and sent 20 letters to legislators, made seven conference presentations and participated in more than a dozen meetings with legislators and political candidates. Two TRAIL trainees also had op-eds about the need for federal paid leave and the importance of Pennsylvania’s Family Care Act published in the Erie Times and the Bucks County Courier Times.

“I learned so much with TRAIL that will essentially allow me to get started on creating the changes people within the disability community need,” said Noemi Gonzalez, one of the participants.

Pennsylvania Speaker of the House Rep. Bryan Cutler and Rebecca Cokley, the Ford Foundation’s first Disability Rights Program Officer, will be among the featured speakers at the graduation. TRAIL leaders and graduates also will share their own special messages. Captioning and ASL will be provided during the ceremony.


The Women and Girls Foundation (WGF) is a nonprofit organization based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, engaged in statewide programming and policy work. The mission of WGF is to achieve equality for women and girls, now and for generations to come. In pursuit of this mission, WGF breaks down barriers so that every girl can rise and every woman can soar. Our vision is for women and girls in Pennsylvania to have equal access, opportunity and influence in all aspects of their public and private lives. (wgfpa.org)

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