Living With Autism in Our Community: A Video

Living With Autism in Our Community is an awareness/advocacy piece that demonstrates the challenges and needs that individuals with autism and their families face when trying to make community participation happen.

To purchase a video of “Living With Autism in Our Community” and the accompanying discussion guide, click on here!

For information about contracting with the Arcadia Institute for speaking engagements or to obtain a copy of any of our publications, please contact us.

Our Blog after Five and a Half Years: Taking a Break

The blog this week was written by Dr. Allison Hammond, Executive Director of The Arcadia Institute. For nearly every Tuesday since April of 2010, we have posted a blog. The blogs have been about success stories of people and organizations we have worked with so that people with disabilities are welcomed and supported in the community. We have shared ideas and thoughts about community participation. We have written about how The Arcadia Institute supports people with disabilities to be involved in the community as they choose. Sometimes we have written about the Community Brokering process we use to help people plan for their life in the community.

In 2017, we hope to launch our programs and initiatives more broadly in the community. Currently, our biggest supporter for our programs is Kalamazoo Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (KCMHSAS). However, when we do Community Brokering we are frequently asked if we can provide the process if people are willing to pay.

Recently, we began working with Bailey Mead and Melissa Al-Azzawi on a new Branding and Marketing Project. While consulting with them, we decided it's time to put our Blog on hiatus. We know that we have some loyal readers because they tell us, but we want to reach a broader audience in a more strategic way.

So keep your eyes out! Because sometime in 2017 we will reappear and hopefully more people will find out blog and learn that we have so much to share about making our community a place where everyone belongs!

Here is a link if you would like to go through our past blogs. The archives are on the right border of the page.

Community Leadership is a Responsibility for the Whole Community

The blog this week was written by Dr. Allison Hammond, Executive Director of The Arcadia Institute. This kind of thinking under-girds a concept that I call ‘community leadership’, which I think should be part of the mission of all nonprofit organizations. It is not sufficient just to be about fulfilling our specific organizational mission. We must embrace the broader good of promoting what is best for the whole community. I know that some will say that nonprofits have so few resources that we have to use them for our narrower interests. Yet, I believe that unless we join in the broader cause of making the whole community a better place to live, the lives of those we have a specific responsibility to serve will not be as rich as they could be.

George Martin, December 2, 2014

This is a excerpt from a "Why We Take Responsibity" blog that George Martin composed a couple of years ago at this time. It is part of a series that calls us to think about how communities and people we serve will all be better if we consider how true leaders have not only their own organization's best interests at heart, but the whole community as well. Leaders build communities where EVERYONE BELONGS!

Revisiting Equity as a Principle of Organizational Life

The blog this week was written by Dr. Allison Hammond, Executive Director of The Arcadia Institute. In 2014, The Arcadia Institute posted a series of Blogs written by George Martin, who was then the President. The series was about equity, inclusion and Diversity. As I think about the recent election and conversations that are occurring throughout our nation and community, I thought it would be worth revisiting these blogs.

We start to day with Equity as a Principle of Organizational Life.

In its leadership role within our community the Kalamazoo Community Foundation has affirmed three primary principles that can serve to bind us together as a community: Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity.

In the work of The Arcadia Institute we have made the inclusion of people with disabilities our highest value and an integral part of our mission. We evaluate our work in terms of the extent to which we have contributed toward that end.

We affirm diversity as an explicit aspect of what we consider a good community to be. We appeal to a common affirmation of diversity in our efforts to persuade the broader community to value and support people with disabilities. We also affirm a community in which a wide variety of people with different characteristics and conditions take part.

I think that our colleagues and friends who work within other nonprofit organizations not only support diversity and inclusion, however they may define them, as a matter of course in their work.

It’s that third one, ‘equity’, that I see as the tough one. I think that the reason we may hesitate to affirm equity is that it is confused with ‘equality’. So let us examine these two terms. Equality is not so hard to define. Equal means the same, in both qualitative and quantitative ways, such as the right to happiness or the same share of the family inheritance.

Equity, however, is not so clear cut an idea, in part because it includes equality as part of its meaning. Getting an equitable share does not mean getting the same measure. It means getting what is fair, and in order to determine what is fair we have to dig a little deeper. Equity includes having your basic needs met, like what you need to eat and your health care needs met. It even carries the connotation of a right, or entitlement, to have those basic needs met. It also includes the idea of equal treatment under the law and equal access to the goods and services of the community.

People among us, like some people with disabilities, will not have access to a decent share of our community’s goods unless there is support for the principle of equity. Many of them will not be able to participate, much less compete, on the same terms as people without disabilities. Some will need both support and accommodations to take their rightful place among us. Other groups of people face similar difficulties. All both need and deserve equity.

When it comes to supporting rights and entitlements some folks back away from the idea of equity, or even say supporting equal treatment in our court systems. So it appears to me that the Kalamazoo Community Foundation is really stepping forward as a leader in adding equity to its core priorities or values. They are offering support and a challenge to organizations who seek their financial backing. Those of us leading nonprofit organizations are blessed with both the challenge and the promise of support. We are being urged to embody one of the toughest core values in American life. And when we meet the challenge, and especially when we enter into covenants to work together to achieve equity, we amount to a powerful force for good.

Welcoming, Supporting and Respecting People who Experience Disability

The blog this week was written by Dr. Allison Hammond, Executive Director of The Arcadia Institute. The main purpose for the existence of The Arcadia Institute is to make the community welcoming, supportive and respectful of people who experience disability. We do this in three ways:

1. Work with individuals to discover their talents and skills and where the want to participate in the community

2. Work with organizations who are committed to equity, diversity and inclusion for people who experience disability

3. Facilitate Connect Kalamazoo which is a network of organizations who work toward making Kalamazoo a community where everyone belongs.