The Arcadia Institute

Making it possible for people with disabilities to be welcomed, supported and respected in their community

Entries for April 2010

Helping Kids Have a Great Summer Program Experience!

It’s almost the end of the school year. Now is the time to get kids signed up for camps and summer programming before it fills up!

Don’t be reluctant to share information about your child for fear it will have negative repercussions for your child. Good camps and programs want and need to know as much as possible. They want to know your child’s strengths and talents, as well as what kinds of support they need to be successful. The more information they have, the better.

Download our tips about what kinds of information is helpful to share. Or, contact us at The Arcadia Institute if you have some specific concerns or would like support.

Also, The Arcadia Institute will be providing staff training to the following organizations this summer. We may be working with more groups, but these are just the ones that we have scheduled training so far. If you would like to learn more about our training, or if your organization would like us provide staff training, please contact us.

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.

Here Comes Summer!

It’s hard to believe it, but summer is right around the corner and there are many great ways to spend your long summer days in our community! Canoeing, hiking, bike riding, music, cooking, art, theater, sports…

For adults, there are many opportunities to join programs at places such as the Kalamazoo Public Library, Portage Public Library, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts and the Nature Center. Or contact us at The Arcadia Institute and we can help find something to suit a particular interest!

For kids, it’s time to think about camps like Sherman Lake and the Nature Center. Or maybe day programs like Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Kalamazoo and the YMCA.

One of the best places that we have discovered for families to find out what’s going on in the Kalamazoo community is the Kalamazoo for Kids Web site. They have event calendars and summer program listings with links and information.

At The Arcadia Institute we are guided by the belief that every individual should have the opportunity to explore his or her interests and connect with the community. We are available for training, coaching, observation and consulting. Contact us so we can help facilitate fun, successful summer experiences for adults and children with disabilities.