The third annual AmeriCorps Week is taking place May 9-16, 2009. AmeriCorps Week “provides the perfect opportunity for AmeriCorps members, alums, grantees, program partners, and friends to shine a spotlight on the work done by members–and to motivate more Americans [including individuals with disabilities] to serve their communities.”
Celebrations of service are being planned throughout the country and below are two examples of AmeriCorps Week events that are inclusive of people with disabilities.
6 Days, 6 Ramps
The fifth annual 6 Days, 6 Ramps project will take place this year from May 8-10 and then May 15-17. “6 Days 6 Ramps is a multi-site collaborative service project between [Florida’s] Governor’s Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service, not-for-profit organizations; organizations that serve persons with disabilities; volunteer centers; faith-based organizations; AmeriCorps programs, and the business community.
One of the goals of 6 Days 6 Ramps is to encourage people with disabilities to join AmeriCorps. For this reason 6 Days 6 Ramps occurs each year in conjunction with National AmeriCorps Week. 6 Days 6 Ramps [strongly encourages] applicants to partner with AmeriCorps State or National Directs, AmeriCorps*VISTA, Senior Corps, and Learn and Serve America national service programs throughout Florida, as well as organizations serving persons with disabilities.”
Disaster Preparedness and Disability Awareness Projects
This year, the New Jersey Commission on National and Community Service is working with several different AmeriCorps projects throughout the state to support New Jersey’s emergency preparedness efforts. These efforts include providing disaster preparedness training to individuals with disabilities who live independently. “Members and volunteers have produced disaster preparedness ‘Go Bags’, or disaster kits, specific to the disability community. These bags have been filled with life saving items that can be used in the event of a disaster.” The event will feature presentations on inclusion of people with disabilities, AmeriCorps and volunteerism, and disaster preparedness. Presenters will include AmeriCorps members and disaster relief professionals.
When you are planning an event, it is important to make sure that:
- The location is physically accessible to service members and volunteers with disabilities
- All advertising for the event clearly states, “Reasonable accommodations and alternative formats available upon request,” and is made available in alternative formats, such as large print, Braille, and illustrations
- Any service to be performed during the event is inclusive of participants of all abilities
- All written materials are available in alternative formats
- Any slides, flip charts or displays that are a part of any presentations are read aloud so that they are accessible to both visual and auditory learners
How is your organization working to make sure that your AmeriCorps Week events are inclusive of people of all abilities?
Please share your experience so that we all can learn. Send responses to Sarah Kaplan at sarah.kaplan [at] umb.edu and they will be compiled for a future Inclusion Weekly.
For further resources regarding inclusive event planning, visit:
- Effective Practices Guide to Creating Inclusive and Accessible Service Days
- Ensuring Programmatic and Facility Accessibility in National and Community Service Programs
- Planning a successful statewide event
We always look forward to serving you! Please feel free to contact us with any disability inclusion questions and requests for information at NSIP [at] umb.edu or 888-491-0326 (V/TTY). Visit our website for a list of trainings offered by NSIP.
The National Service Inclusion Project is a cooperative agreement (08TAHMA001) between the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Institute for Community Inclusion at UMass Boston in collaboration with the Association of University Centers on Disabilities, Association on Higher Education and Disability, National Council on Independent LivingNational Down Syndrome Congress. Information contained in this email is for informational purposes only and does not imply endorsement from the National Service Inclusion Project or the Corporation for National and Community Service.