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Inclusion: The active engagement of people with disabilities as service members in all levels of national and community service



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Section IX: Collaborations

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***Please Note: the information in this handbook is currently being revised and updated. Please check back soon for updates to this page and new resource information. If you have a question about any specific content, or are seeking additional resources while potential revisions are in progress, please email NSIP and we would be happy to respond with any inclusion information you require. Thank you for your patience as we make these updates. -NSIP Staff

Key Words and Terms

What are the benefits of collaboration for national and community service programs with disability organizations?

Collaboration allows organizations to achieve more together than they would be able to achieve alone. Often organizations have mutual or complementary goals. Organizations that provide services to people with disabilities, or advocate for people with disabilities, are found in every community. Strong and effective collaborations with these organizations can contribute to your success in creating an inclusive service environment, recruitment, retention, ensuring compliance with federal and state laws, and providing accommodations.

A list of potential benefits for disability organizations and service programs:

Benefits Benefits to Disability Organizations Benefits to National and Community Service Programs
Outreach/Placement Create opportunities for consumers Identify potential participants with disabilities
Recruitment Educate consumers to possibilities Recruit qualified committed participants
Accommodations Allow consumers the opportunity to fully participate in service and gain valuable experience Retention of participants with disabilities
Networking Learn about national service Develop relationships with disability organizations
Community Awareness Joint projects Joing projects

For disability organizations, collaborations with national and community service programs will provide new opportunities for people with disabilities and open up supportive environments for personal growth. There are many areas in which disability organizations can help service programs succeed in their efforts to include people with disabilities and to create inclusive service environments. They can provide technical assistance on accessibility and accommodations, assist you in recruitment (through newsletters, brochures, and individual referrals), and assist when issues arise around retention.

The world of service, and the opportunities offered, can also help disability organizations. Service experience can provide great opportunities for individuals with disabilities. These individuals can then help to change perceptions that people with disabilities are always recipients of service, not service providers. Especially on a local level, the service community is unfamiliar with the disability community, and vice versa.

Where do I begin?

The most successful collaborations are built on knowledge, trust, and relationships that are mutually beneficial. It is important for you to become familiar with the organizations in your community and for them to become familiar with your programs and with the goals of service.

Some ways to start collaborations:

How are disability organizations structured?

In order to enhance the possibility of good collaboration, it is helpful to understand how disability organizations are set up. There are three basic ways that disability organizations are organized:

Many disability organizations are affiliates or chapters of national organizations. The state or local organization may be very large or very small. There are also local organizations that provide services that are not necessarily affiliated with a national organization. Please see Appendix Resources for contact information for national organizations. They can assist you in locating the closest local organizations.

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©The National Service Inclusion Project (NSIP) is a training and technical assistance provider on disability inclusion. NSIP partners with the Association on University Centers on Disability, National Council on Independent Living, Association on Higher Education and Disability and National Down Syndrome Congress to build connections between disability organizations and all CNCS grantees, including national directs, to increase the participation of people with disabilities in national service.