Inclusion is good business.
The Community Participation Initiative provides technical assistance and on-site coaching to help staff make accommodations to programs, either one-on-one or in a group setting.
The Kalamazoo region is a place where we love where we live, we care about our neighbors, and we work together to make this a better place for everyone. At Arcadia, we believe that our community organizations want to welcome people with disabilities, but might not know where to begin.
We believe you don’t have to be an expert to support people with disabilities. As your partners on the path of inclusion, we bring decades of experience and act as coaches, supporting people who want to participate in your programs and supporting your organization in making adaptations and accommodations.
"For us, Community Participation was an easy fit. Nature's diversity is obvious and the strength of diversity in systems is obvious. This is all it takes: Be genuinely kind. Be nice. Try. Be flexible. If something doesn't work, try something else."
— JENNY METZ BRENNEMAN, CAMP DIRECTOR, KALAMAZOO NATURE CENTER
We believe that our whole community is better when everyone has a place at the table. Time and again, we have heard from our partners that learning to include people with developmental disabilities has made it possible for others to be included as well. This could mean people with visual impairment, older adults, pregnant women, children dealing with grief and loss, adults with limited literacy, or any number of other community members who might need some accommodation to participate in programs. Our community is stronger when everyone has positive experiences of people with disabilities being included in public spaces.
Arcadia creates partnerships with community agencies that offer fully inclusive activities to all. We do not participate in segregated programs.
Portage District Library is always looking for ways to be more accessible to everyone in the community. They reached out to us after seeing our Living in the Community with Autism video and asked us to come and talk with their staff about making accommodations for people with developmental disabilities. They were excited to learn that small shifts often make big impacts, and they had some great ideas about ways to make the library more accessible for all of its patrons.
Ready Reads is one of those great ideas. The librarians noticed that adults with lower reading levels often had to comb through the children's section to find books they could read. They decided to set up a new a collection of high-interest, low reading level books called Ready Reads. They placed Ready Reads in an easy-to-spot location in the adult section of the library, giving adult readers the ability to access interesting, readable books with greater ease and dignity.
FOR SERVICE PROVIDERS:
Community Participation allows individuals to make choices about matters that affect their lives while participating in various environments, developing a network of relationships, gaining competencies and respect, and making valuable contributions.
Learn More About Community Participation
You can find more information about Community Participation our Blog. Here are a few examples:
Please contact us for more information about becoming involved in Community Participation.