The Arcadia Institute

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

Independence Day: A Look Back to a Blog from Philadelphia from May 2011

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

What does independence have to do with community participation?

For the Blog this week, I found myself looking back through past blogs. We have published a Blog for all but maybe 2 weeks since April of 2010. That is over 300 blog posts! There is a lot there about the history of The Arcadia Institute Community Participation Initiative, Community Brokering, Building a Community of Belonging, Success stories.

Given some of the tone in this political campaign season, this one stood out for me.

Blog from Philadelphia May 17, 2011

I was recently in Philadelphia for a conference where one is surrounded by the history of the beginnings of the United States of America. Just down the street from my hotel The Declaration of Independence was signed.

What does independence have to do with community participation? Everything. The rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are only realized by fully being part of one’s community.

Do people really experience these rights if they are told that because of a disability they only have options to be in special programs that actually exclude everyone else? Would you be happy if because of a certain condition or characteristic you only had a particular set of options for activities that are separate from your fellow citizens?

Through the Community Participation Initiative we support individuals to be part of their community not only by supporting the person, but also by supporting the community to welcome, support and respect all people.

You can find out more by contacting us here.

Join us July 11, 2016

The Arcadia Institute is having a Fundraiser night at Blaze Pizza, 5015 West Main Street, Kalamazoo. Please join us on July 11, 2016, between 5 – 8 pm for pizza. If you bring in this attached flier, 20% of your meal will go to The Arcadia Institute. We hope to see you there!

Building a Community of Belonging in New Mexico

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

On the Learning Tour in Georgia, I met Kay Lilley. She is the Manager of the Beloved Community Project in Dona Ana County NM. Read this article about this project that is very similar to our work in Kalamazoo.

http://krwg.org/post/beloved-community-helping-young-adults-disabilities

For more information about The Arcadia Institute visit us at www.thearcadiainstitute.org or call Allison Hammond at 269-217-2205. Like us on Facebook too!

Another Poem from the 2016 Building a Community of Belonging Forum

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

Anyone who has ever gone to a new school, job, church or any place for that matter can feel uncomfortable. But what if you are a person who has disability? Would you have extra worries about being welcomed, supported and respected? In the poem below please note just how very important it is for those of who see a new person come into a place we know well to take the time to help them feel that they BELONG.

New at school and I had

no friends.

But you took the time to

help me out and clue me in.

and helped me make new friends

There’s no one else I would

have wanted to include me

in. . .

To this very day You are

my only best friend

It all started that day

You helped me fit in.

— Arrion Hill

For more information about the Connect Kalamazoo Network and The Arcadia Institute please contact Allison Hammond at ahammond@thearcadiainstitute.org or 269-217-2205.

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!