How can a community work together to create a place where everyone, specifically people with disabilities, belongs? The answer is by coming together to be intentional about making the community welcoming, supportive and respectful of people with disabilities. In Kalamazoo there is a group that is doing just that! Connect Kalamazoo! Connect Kalamazoo has been meeting once per month since 2011, following the 2nd Building a Community of Belonging Forum. Our primary partners in Connect Kalamazoo are The Kalamazoo Nature Center, The YMCA of Greater Kalamazoo, The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Kalamazoo, The Southwest Michigan Council of Boy Scouts, Portage District Library and the Media Arts Academy. However, there are over 140 other organizations and people who have been touched by this network.
Our work together has centered around three areas:
- Aligning the community around the meaning of full inclusion and community participation for people with disabilities
- Networking with each other to support our organizations and the broader community to welcome, support and respect people with disabilities
- Producing the Annual Building a Community of Belonging Forum as well as the Commitment to Inclusion Checklist
Mark your calendar for September 23 at 12N and join us for a lunch to celebrate our work and begin planning the March 2014 Building a Community of Belonging Forum! We will be at Comensoli’s, 762 W Main St, Kalamazoo. RSVP to Michele Momotiuk at firstname.lastname@example.org or 254-8224.
Join us to make Kalamazoo a community where everyone belongs!