The Arcadia Institute

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

A Full Life When You Belong in Your Community

The blog this week was written by Dr. Allison Hammond, Executive Director of The Arcadia Institute.

My days is good to all my family and friends

and my case workers and my staff and my bowling friends

and work and clubs and Metro drivers

and aunts and uncles, grandparents and cousins and my brothers and sister-in-law.

My mom and dad and my dog Molly and my workers.

And my TV shows, Mystery Science Theater 3000, DVDs and videos

Battle Star Galatica, The A Team, Knight Rider, Bat Man and Dukes of Hazzard DVD.

Jamie LaPorte

Jamie LaPorte is a regular member of Connect Kalamazoo. Her rarely misses a meeting. One of the best things about Jamie is that he often shares little gems of information and ideas when we are planning for the Annual Building a Community of Belonging Forums. Jamie reminds us that we need to appreciate all of our community connections and celebrate those who make our lives full!

Belonging: It is not always easy to fit in

The blog this week was written by Dr. Allison Hammond, Executive Director of The Arcadia Institute.

This poem is by a young man who attended the 7th Annual Building a Community of Belonging Forum in March 2106. Often we talk about people with disabilities being given a choice, but does the community really offer opportunities and supports for people to belong?

When we heard this poem at the Forum, it reminded us that while we have moved the community to be more welcoming, supportive and respectful – we all have work to do.

I always feel trapped.

I’m always in that small box that they want me to be in.

I have no free will like they say.

They try to trick me, and say I choose how my life goes.

That’s not true though, because they’re always in control.

Zach Scott

On May 24, 2016 at 12 noon, please join us as we continue the conversation about the next steps for Connect Kalamazoo: A Community Where Everyone Belongs!

Where: The Arcadia Institute

1822 Alamo Ave.

Kalamazoo MI 49006

Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities: Mixed Greens in Savannah

The blog this week was written by Allison Hammond, Executive Director of The Arcadia Institute.

The last stop on the Learning Tours was Savannah GA. We met with the group Mixed Greens who organize the Forsyth Farmers Market. The original organizers of the market looked around the table and noticed that some people in the community were not there – people with disabilities. They joined with the GCDD Real Community efforts.

There is a link to their video Mixed Greens Savannah

And here is a link to more information about the Forsyth Farmers Market.

Enjoy a little trip to Savannah!

Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities: Centenary United Methodist Church in Macon GA

This week’s blog was written by Allison Hammond, Executive Dierctor of The Arcadia Institute.

The third stop on the Learning Tour was Macon GA to learn about the Centenary United Methodist Church Roving Listeners. We heard about and saw the difference hearing community stories is making. From a bicycle program, to a community garden to redevelopment of the Mill Hill Neighborhood – taking time to listen builds community!

The Roving Listeners also use these kinds of questions when they visit people:
What were you born doing well – what are your talents?
What skills have you learned well?
What are you passionate about?
What are you able to teach?
What would you like to learn?

Here is link to information about Centenary United Methodist Church
Here is a video of the project
Here is another clip of the Mill Hill East Macon Art Village that the Roving Listeners have been involved in. The Roving Listeners have been visiting neighbors in the area. http://www.macon.com/news/local/article74020412.html

Stay tuned for as the next few blogs highlight what Allison learned during her 4 days in Georgia!.

Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities: Clarkston GA

The blog this week was written by Allison Hammond, Executive Director of The Arcadia Institute.

The first stop on the Learning Tour was Clarkston GA to learn about the Relationship Building Group. Clarkston has a large refugee community and Basmat Ahmed is the Community Builder facilitating neighbors getting know neighbors. Basmat has spent hours having conversations with people in the community using Asset Based Community Development techniques.

She asks people:
What were you born doing well – what are your talents?
What skills have you learned well?
What are you passionate about?
What are you able to teach?
What would you like to learn?

Out of this exploration, the Clarkston International Garden was born in 40 Oaks Nature Preserve.

Here is a video of the project.

Stay tuned for as the next few blogs highlight what Allison learned during her 4 days in Georgia!.