2006-08 Grant Summaries: Inclusive of Individuals with Disabilities as Active Volunteers and Service Members in National Service

October 1, 2006

Grant Period: October 1, 2006 - March 31, 2008
Primary Initiative: The primary objective of these 18-month grants will be identifying the number of individuals with disabilities willing to apply and enroll in national service and describing the support strategies utilized to ensure a positive experience and retention.

To achieve this, the UCEDD must recruit, establish a contractual agreement, and fund the active participation of a consumer-directed disability organization or group that will work in partnership with their respective State Commissions and/or State Office.

List of Participants: (Select a State for the Grant Summary)



Virginia **(Start Date: October 1, 2007) 

West Virginia


Grant Summaries:

ARIZONA - Institute for Human Development at the Northern Arizona University: Diane Lenz, (928) 523-7040, [email protected]; and Bob Fain, [email protected]

The purpose of the proposed Northern Arizona University/Institute for Human Development (NAU/IHD) National Service Inclusion Project is to support the Arizona State Commission and the CNCS State Office to:

  1. Identify and document increases in the number of individuals with disabilities who apply and enroll in National Service programs; and
  2. Develop, implement and describe support strategies that ensure a positive experience, and retention of individuals with disabilities in National Service programs.

Proposed project activities focus on broad dissemination of National Service program information through statewide disability networks and networks of individuals with disabilities; and building state and local partnerships between National Service programs and disability organizations. Sample proposed project tasks include:

  • Dissemination of National Service program information to transitioning high school special education students and Benefits Planning and Outreach counselors;
  • National Service program and disability organization strategy meetings in targeted communities; and
  • Provision of technical assistance to National Service programs.

Project activities will be accomplished through collaborative partnerships between NAU/IHD, the State Commission, the CNCS State Office, the Inclusion Work Team and two consumer-led disability organizations: The Statewide Independent Living Center and People First of Arizona.

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HAWAII - Center on Disability Studies at the University of Hawaii Manoa: Madeline Harcourt, (808) 956-9392, [email protected]; Steve Brown, [email protected]

Action Plan to Include People Labeled and Underserved because of Disability in Volunteer Service (APPLAUD) will partner with the Hawaii Commission on National and Community Service, the Self-Advocate Advisory Committee (SAAC), in a contractual arrangement, and CDS' Consumer Advisory Committee (CAC) to identify and enroll people with disabilities in National Service (AmeriCorps) programs and to work to ensure these experiences are positive ones leading to retention and continued coordination between AmeriCorps and disability organizations. APPLAUD will work with the aforementioned entities to create and fill 1-2 AmeriCorps slots within the 18 month period of the grant. APPLAUD will facilitate training, recruitment, and quantification of program goals leading to sustainability of volunteers with disabilities in national service beyond the period of the grant.

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VIRGINIA - Partnership for People with Disabilities at the Virginia Commonwealth University: Dana Yarbrough, (804) 828-0352, [email protected]

The primary purpose of this project is to increase the number of applications and the enrollment of individuals with disabilities in national and community service opportunities in Virginia and to provide support to Virginia's AmeriCorps State and VISTA programs to enhance the success of programs that include people with disabilities as AmeriCorps Members. This will be accomplished through the collective expertise and experiences of the collaborative partners: the Partnership for People with Disabilities, the Virginia Commission for National and Community Services, and a consumer-directed organization, New Voices.

The proposed activities include:

  1. Develop agreements with collaborative partners that indicate the joint strategies that will be used to increase meaningful involvement of individuals with disabilities in national and community service.
  2. Develop presentations and materials based on existing information available through NSIP and NSIP other grantees to heighten interest in and to explain national and community service options to individuals with disabilities.
  3. Use the connections of New Voices members to established self-advocacy and other community groups to identify and assist 25 individuals with disabilities to apply/enroll in national and community service.
  4. Develop a state-wide advisory team to assist with review of materials, identification of additional community organizations, and sustainability of the effort.
  5. Serve as technical assistance providers to Virginia's existing AmeriCorps State and VISTA programs to better include people with disabilities in national and community service activities.
  6. With VCNCS, review and enhance their disability plan that supports meaningful involvement of individuals with disabilities in national and community service programs.
  7. Document successes and challenges through a publication that can be shared with and used by others.

Projected outcomes include:

  • Increase in successful working relationships among partner organizations;
  • Materials and presentations developed for individuals with cognitive and other disabilities that explain the project;
  • Placement of 25 individuals with disabilities in volunteer or member positions within national and community service projects and increased awareness of opportunities of at least 200 individuals with disabilities;
  • Increased knowledge among service projects regarding the recruitment, enrollment, and support of people with disabilities as volunteers and members; and
  • A plan with VCNCS to sustain and expand these activities when the contract period ends.
  • A longer term outcome is enriched communities that value contributions of individuals with disabilities.

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WEST VIRGINIA - Center for Excellence in Disabilities at the West Virginia University: Lori Risk, (304) 293-4692, [email protected]; Melina Danko, [email protected]

Project activities will address the four primary initiatives designated for this funding opportunity:

  1. Develop and establish a contractual agreement with the West Virginia Developmental Disabilities Council, a consumer-directed organization, to assist with the implementation of the project;
  2. Develop and forge collaborative partnerships with disability and community-based organizations, emergency planning entities; state and local agencies and CNCS programs that actively engage individuals with disabilities within communities;
  3. Generate and implement strategies that will result in measurable increases in the application, enrollment and retention of service members and volunteers with disabilities, particularly in the area of emergency preparedness planning and response; and
  4. Develop and produce policy/research/technical assistance briefs or guides for CNCS describing experiences, lessons learned, best practices, outcomes and service impact of individuals with disabilities.

The proposed project will provide training and technical assistance to increase the participation of volunteers with disabilities in national service and focus efforts in the area of community, state and national-level emergency planning and response. This effort has the potential to move community and national service in a critical direction, as made evident by events in recent years such as the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 and by the 2005 hurricane season.

The West Virginia Developmental Disabilities Council (DD Council) is the designated consumer-directed organization. Council members will receive stipends for providing consumer direction to project activities and to serve as liaisons to disability groups throughout West Virginia. The DD Council will provide consumer input for strategic planning, volunteer recruitment and retention through networks with other disability organizations, curriculum development and development of policy and technical assistance briefs. CED and the DD Council will collaborate extensively with West Virginia's Commission for National and Community Service to facilitate collaboration between the CNCS and consumer-directed organizations; maximize volunteerism among individuals with disabilities; and to avoid duplication of efforts.

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WISCONSIN - Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin: Julie Schears, (608) 265-2063, [email protected]

  • Activity #1: To assist consumer directed and oriented statewide disability related agencies and organizations to identify individuals with disabilities who are interested in becoming involved in national service, and to describe the support strategies that should be utilized to ensure a positive service experience and retention. Outcome: Summary report that describes number of individuals with disabilities interested in national and community service, and supports necessary to ensure a positive service experience.
  • Activity #2: To design and implement "Wisconsin Days of Disability Service" during which time selected AmeriCorps agencies in Wisconsin will partner with local disability agencies to create experiences for individuals with disabilities to participate in a volunteer service activity. Outcome: A minimum of 24 individuals with disabilities engaged in volunteer community service. and a summary report that describes the support strategies that should be utilized to ensure a positive service experience and retention.
  • Activity #3: To sponsor a series of trainings during which time individuals with disabilities who have participated in national and community service (Disability Inclusion Mentors) will share their experience and speak to best practices that AmeriCorps and other CNCS funded programs should consider as they involved individuals with disabilities in their national and community service initiatives. Outcome: A minimum of 10 Disability Inclusion Mentors will be identified and a minimum of 10 trainings will be provided to agencies throughout the state
  • Activity #4: To produce policy/research/technical assistance briefs or guides that describe experiences, lessons learned, best practices, outcomes, and service impact of individuals with disabilities. Outcome: A minimum of one brief that summarizes best practices to support inclusion of individuals with disabilities in national and community service.

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