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National Service and Inclusion Project

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

Visit NSIP's sister site The National Service to Employment Project (NextSTEP)


A Meaningful Place for All

A National Conference on Disability Inclusion and National Service

This Just In: Plenary Session Transcripts

A National Conference on Disability Inclusion, Service, and Volunteerism

In early December, the 2005 National Conference on Disability Inclusion and National Service reflected on the last decade and looked to the future of inclusion in national service programs.

This event placed the national service and disability communities in a setting that fostered the development of innovative ideas, strong partnerships, and an environment where everyone will have the opportunity to make a difference in their community.

On this page you will find links to speeches presented at the conference plenary sessions.

Opening Plenary

A Meaningful Place for All opened with reflections on the benefits of inclusive service from leaders of the national service and disability communities.

Success Stories

The second day started with one of the highlights of the conference that showcased how the benefits of inclusive service environments reach individuals with disabilities, the people they serve with, and their programs. Bob Williams, Policy Advisor for the Association of University Centers on Disability, moderated a panel of current and past AmeriCorps service members with disabilities: Santa Perez, a VISTA member in Nevada; AmeriCorps alumnus Tom Hamel; AmeriCorps alumnus Emmannuel Jenkins; and AmeriCorps VISTA alumna Maureen Shenberger.

Recognition for Excellence

In a plenary session, Emmanuel Jenkins--AmeriCorps alumnus and lifelong community volunteer--was officially recognized for his commitment to service. Claude Allen, Chief Domestic Policy Advisor to President George W. Bush, presented Mr. Jenkins with the Presidential Volunteer Service Award, an honor given to Americans who have made a sustained commitment to volunteer service throughout their lives. Local news coverage.

Before presenting Mr. Jenkins with the award, Mr. Allen talked about the administration's commitment to national and community service, emphasizing that we are at our best when we serve. Read Mr. Allen's speech.

Pat Morrissey, Director of the Administration on Developmental Disabilities, followed by talking about her volunteer experience, how she benefited from it, and how she helped her community. She closed with a discussion of how service benefits everyone involved. Read Ms. Morrissey's speech.

An Inspirational Conclusion

The conference closed with words from a disability community celebrity: Timothy Harrington, Director of the Ability Center of Greater Toledo, and producer and star of the popular video The 10 Commandments of Communicating with People with Disabilities. Mr. Harrington told the inspirational, insightful, and humorous story of growing up and learning to live with a disability. He emphasized the importance of service and inclusion and charged the audience to always work together to make the world better, each day. Read Mr. Harrington's closing keynote address.

In addition to these presentations, the conference offered more than thirty workshops and forums, providing attendees with the opportunity to acquire new skills, contribute their expertise to a variety of discussions, and network with a diverse array of people representing over 275 organizations.

Relevant materials from workshops at the event will be posted soon.

If you have any questions concerning this event, want to request a training or strategic planning session from NSIP, or have a question concerning the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in national service programs, please feel free to contact us.

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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.