Connect Kalamazoo Network: Growing the Good

Join us for the 5th Building a Community of Belonging Forum of The Arcadia Institute and Its Partners on March 20, 2014 from8:30AM - 3:00PM at the Ladies' Library Association. For more information click here. What do the Kalamazoo Nature Center, Humphrey Products, the YMCA, Portage District Library, Boys and Girls Club, Kalamazoo Regional Educational Services Agency (KRESA) and the People's Food Co-op all have in common?

They are all part of the 5th Building a Community of Belonging Forum. They along with the other organizations of the Connect Kalamazoo Network are committed to Kalamazoo being a place where everyone belongs.

During the past 4 years, the Connect Kalamazoo Network has come together to "grow the good" momentum toward full inclusion of people with disabilities in the community in activities they choose. These organizations among others (see a full list below) have committed to including people with disabilities in their programs and services that are open to the whole community.

Besides creating the Connect Kalamazoo Network that meets once per month, the Network has produced:

  • The Commitment to Inclusion Checklist - available Commitment to Inclusion Checklist 9.15.11.
  • Four Annual Forums with guest facilitators John and Connie Lyle O'Brien, John McKnight and Beth Mount
  • The Connect Kalamazoo Facebook page where people can share what is going on in the community and help each other participate
  • A Viewpoint article in the Kalamazoo Gazette that addressed misunderstanding about people with autism

This year the Building a Community of Belonging Forum will continue to "grow the good" work that the Connect Kalamazoo Network has been doing. We are focusing on the momentum of community awareness that people with disabilities have interests, gifts and skills that employers can benefit from. Most people find their jobs through connections and relationships that people with disabilities often lack. Coming out of this Forum we hope the community will be enlightened about the possibilities for employers to benefit from the gifts of people with disabilities as employees.

Join us on March 20, 2014 from 8:30AM - 3:00PM at the Ladies' Library Association for the 5th Building a Community of Belonging Forum. Registration information is here.

Building a Community of Belonging Forum Partners The Arcadia Institute YMCA of Greater Kalamazoo Kalamazoo Nature Center Boys and Girls Club of Greater Kalamazoo Southwest Michigan Council of Boy Scouts The Portage District Library The Media Arts Academy

Advocacy Groups ARC of Michigan Arc of Kent County ARC of Western Wayne County Advocacy Services for Kids Autism Society Community Advocates Disability Network of Southwest Michigan

Sponsors Center for Disability Services Community Living Options Residential Opportunities, Inc. Family & Children Services MRC Industries Parent to Parent of Southwest Michigan Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency

Supporters 4-H Community Living Services Kalamazoo Community Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services Julie Pell Girls on the Run Kindermusik, Debbie Long Douglass Community Association Kalamazoo County Head Start Portage Parks and Recreation Pretty Lake Vacation Camp Prevention Works USA Tae Kwan Do YMCA Sherman Lake Kingdom Sports Air Zoo Kalamazoo Metro Transit People's Food Co-op of Kalamazoo

Additional Funding Kalamazoo RICC Irving S. Gilmore Foundation Dorothy U. Dalton Foundation Junior League of Kalamazoo Connections Council Joseph Cekola Memorial Fund Support for this forum was provided by a grant from the Kalamazoo Community Foundation.