As national service programs work to expand their networks and include individuals of all abilities, it is important to consider the benefits of partnering with disability organizations within your communities.
The benefits of collaboration can enhance both your service program and the disability organization you partner with as you work toward mutual goals.
By a national service program collaborating with a disability organization, benefits to national service programs include:
- Speaking about national service at a disability-focused event, conference or job fair.
- Having staff at a disability organization inform specific constituents about opportunities to serve within your program
- Learning how to create inclusive advertising and materials for your program
- Linking websites to increase the awareness of national service opportunities
- Providing ideas, information and resources around reasonable accommodations, alternative formats, and assistive technology for current and future members with disabilities.
- Developing an understanding of the principals of Universal Design (UD) and how to apply them to your program as you work to create a more inclusive service environment.
- Knowledge about compliance with federal and state laws regarding disability
- Having organizations conduct disability awareness trainings to your staff and service members
- Partnering for an inclusive service project that benefits all members and the community.
Partnering with national service programs also benefits the disability organizations/communities as they work to increase opportunities for their members. Benefits to the disability organization/communities include:
- Increased knowledge about what opportunities are available for qualified individuals with disabilities in national and community service programs.
- Awareness that your program is actively working to create an inclusive service environment.
- Constituents affiliated with a disability organization are given the opportunity to expand their personal and professional growth and gain marketable skills for employment if they participate in service.
- Having positive stories of individuals with disabilities who serve and what they have gained from the experience to share with others
- Partnering for inclusive service projects that benefit current and potential members and the community
Familiarize yourself with the organizations for people with disabilities in your community and then begin your outreach efforts. How you conduct your outreach may differ depending on the organization, but could include, setting up informational meetings or inviting the staff and constituents to attend an inclusive service event within your program. Make sure all meetings and/or events are inclusive of all participants.
How does your organization collaborate with national or local disability organizations and what mutual benefits have you noticed?
Please share your experience so that we all can learn. Send responses to Sarah Kaplan at email@example.com and they will be compiled for a future Inclusion Weekly. For more information about collaborating with disability organizations, please visit:
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.