Our Big Rocks for 2015

During Arcadia Institute staff meetings, we often talk about "Big Rocks." This is a practice promoted by Stephen Covey that helps us decide what are the priorities we will work on during the week, month or even year. You can see a demonstration here http://youtu.be/fmV0gXpXwDU For 2015, we have prioritized a few "Big Rocks" to focus on as we do our community building work around people with disabilities being welcomed, supported and respected throughout all community life.

* Opening doors for employment opportunities * Aligning the community around diversity, equity and inclusion * Being intentional about bringing people of color into our work * Documenting our work through collecting relevant data and telling stories

Employment Opportunities We are beginning to reach out more to the business community to let them know that people with disabilities make great employees. Also, we want employers to know that The Arcadia Institute staff are available to support not only employees with disabilities, but also, coach coworkers about how to support each other in the work place. All of us have strengths that we bring to our jobs, but we also have times that we need help from co-workers to be successful. Arcadia staff and our other partners are available to find the just right fit for all in the work place.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion The Connect Kalamazoo Network that The Arcadia Institute facilitates with area organizations works year round to build a community of belonging. This year Connect Kalamazoo will host the 6th annual Building a Community of Belonging Forum on March 26, 2015 at Vanguard Church. This Forum brings that community together to have interactive conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion specifically for people with disabilities, but knowing that this influences these ideals for the whole community. More information about the Forum for 2015 will becoming!

People of Color George Martin, President of The Arcadia Institute has long been intentional about having a diverse staff. Also, in a previous blog Deborah Warfield wrote about the stigmas around disability in the black and brown community. Going forward we are committed to working toward unraveling misinformation about disability throughout the whole community, especially for people who have not been part of the conversation.

Documentation of our work Collecting data and information about the outcomes of our work has been an ongoing activity. We want to continue to enhance how we tell the stories of Community Brokering as well as the Connect Kalamazoo efforts.

We believe that if we keep these "Big Rocks" in focus throughout 2015 our work will have increased lasting impact on our community!