2002-2005 NSIP Accomplishments: California Tarjan

October 15, 2005

California: Tarjan Center for Developmental Disabilities at the University of California - Los Angeles

Project Directors: Olivia Raynor and Karen Leventhal

Focus area and target population: AMERICORPS and AMERICORPS VISTA

Local & National Organizations and networks impacted

We have developed two regional Service Inclusion Networks, one in Los Angeles and one in San Diego, which bring local service programs together with local disability related organizations. The Los Angeles Service Inclusion Network has approximately 35 active members and approximately 80 members on the email distribution list. The San Diego Service Inclusion Network has approximately 25 active members and 45 members on the distribution list.

The following list details the composition of our networks

  • 20 AmeriCorps* State Programs
  • 3 AmeriCorps* National Programs
  • 6 AmeriCorps* VISTA Programs
  • 2 Volunteer Centers
  • 2 National Service Alumni with disabilities
  • 2 Department of Rehabilitation Regional Offices
  • 4 Workability programs, partnerships between university/colleges and the Department of Rehabilitation that seek to prepare students with disabilities for post-academic employment
  • 2 California Council of the Blind Affiliates
  • 2 Regional Networks, Employability and San Diego Workforce Partnership, that seek to create career empowerment for people with disabilities. The networks involve all local Worksource and
  • OneStop Centers along with other community based programs
  • 3 Independent Living Centers
  • 10 other community-based organizations, including San Diego Center for the Blind, Toward Maximum Independence and more

Activities & programs

As a result of NSIP, we have added a new area within our UCEDD and established the Tarjan Service Inclusion Project. This area was/is enthusiastically embraced by the Tarjan Center Consumer and Community Advisory Committee, faculty and staff. We have for many years had initiatives that specifically address community inclusion...specifically our work within our family resource center and the arts. We recognized how service could be both a positive outcome and/or a process leading to deeper and more meaningful engagement community life through service, employment and very importantly contribute to a sense of belonging.

In 1994, the Tarjan Center established the National Arts and Disability Center. It was recognized that through our work in the arts we had existing contacts, resources and training materials that could be 'retooled' and applied in the context of service inclusion. For example we have years of experience providing training to small to large non profit organizations who are recipients of federal funds through the state arts council to comply with Section 504 requirements and the ADA. Similarly we wanted these organizations to go beyond compliance but to learn about, see and hear about artists with disabilities that could contribute and extend the work they are doing in their communities. Our previous work in the arts allowed us to anticipate some of the challenges we indeed have faced and given us rich examples of how inclusion can and does work with individuals with diverse disabilities.

Of recent we have discussed how we might extend our knowledge of national service, specifically VISTA, to work within the arts and disability community. We are beginning to explore whether efforts to build an artists with disabilities network in California might ultimately make use of VISTA's to assist in this effort.

Foundation built for future funding opportunities

Recently applied for an AMERICORPS grant through the Corporation for Community Service along with two other states: Florida and Hawaii who received NSIP grants. Grant Awarded.

We have received two contracts from CA Service Corps that compliments and extends efforts initially supported through NSIP mini grants. The purpose of these contracts is to provide technical assistance and training to AmeriCorps programs. In addition we facilitate a state leadership team to advance service inclusion for the State Commission.