Inclusion is good for everyone!

One of the things that motivates us most is when we are able to be part of a successful community participation experience for an individual with disabilities. Seeing the change in attitude for the participant and for others in the community is incredibly rewarding. We know change is possible. So, from time to time, we like to share a story or two about the amazing people we get to work with. Julia is a woman who lives independently. She used to be very active playing volleyball and doing various exercise programs. Some recent health issues had limited her ability to be active and she wanted to get involved in physical exercise again.

Julia went with us to visit the YMCA and was very excited about trying to take the Zumba exercise class. We helped her complete an application for a program grant and figure out the bus schedule. Julia started taking Zumba on Monday and Friday evenings. The first few times, we met her at the Y to be sure that she found the class and to introduce her to the instructor. She went every week for two months. Then, she moved and the Zumba class made getting home via the bus quite late in the evening. On her own initiative, she went to the step aerobics class at a time that fit better with the bus schedule. She was also excited about the new volleyball league that started and we were able to get her some passes to attend.

Julia also loves animals – especially dogs. We took her to visit the SPCA and helped her fill out a volunteer application. For over a year now, Julia has been volunteering with the SPCA and walking dogs or helping out wherever needed. Recently, she filled out a job application and is hoping to work for the SPCA.

Julia has developed some important relationships with other volunteers and employees at the SPCA. She is missed when she doesn’t show up at the YMCA. Those without disabilities take these kinds of relationships for granted. Julia doesn’t. She feels accepted and happy when she is able to exercise at the YMCA or volunteer at the SPCA. That’s what it’s all about!

Contact The Arcadia Institute to learn more about how we can help facilitate successful community experiences that include individuals with disabilities.