Community Inclusion Award

May 9th, 2013


***Community Inclusion Award***


The Community Inclusion Award was created to honor caregivers, family members, teachers and community members who have excelled at promoting inclusion for people with disabilities.  The concept of the award is one of the recommendations that grew out of the  2011 Community Inclusion Conferences as a means to continue the learning and innovative ideas generated at the conference. 

 It takes effort and commitment to help individuals become full and welcomed participants in their communities, and we want to recognize those who really make it work. Do you know someone like this?  Please nominate them for the Community Award!  Tell us what prompted you to nominate him or her for the award. How has this person successfully made community inclusion work?  Be specific.  Give lots of details!

 Please send nominations to


Community Inclusion Award News  


We are so pleased to announce that our first Community Inclusion Award recipient will receive free registration to the Community Summit in June in Ellensburg.

(go to for more information)





Hot Tips!

May 9th, 2013

We've collected a number of ideas and suggestions for promoting Community Inclusion for our "Hot Tips" section.  Please feel free to add some of your own!  We all benefit when we share...

These hot tips come from Stephen and his Community Connector partners, Joni and Mark.

  • Be adventurous and see each new connection as part of a quest to increase your client?s options in creating new avenues into their community.
  • Rural communities can offer just as many opportunities as urban settings.
  • Look for opportunities where your client can transition from observer to participant.
  • Keep in mind that even a one-time connection can lead to other connections. Community is like a roadmap of belonging for all of us.
  • Honor your client?s passions and interests when choosing possible ideas for connection.

More Hot Tips from the participants in the Make a Difference Workshops!

Find something you love to do.  Then, if things get difficult you have the passion to keep you going!

Not everything you try will work.  Keep going anyway!

Be open. Opportunities for connecting come in unexpected ways.

Take responsibility! Set goals, keep going out in the community, support each other in the partnership

And, as always, never, never, never give up!



The "Hot Tips" for April were all suggestions from the Make a Difference Workshop participants.  This is their advice:


· ?We all have talents to share with our communities. Focus on what makes you unique and what you can contribute and then find somewhere you can do that!?

 · ?Be persistent! You never know when you will find that one connection that provides just the opportunity you were hoping for - or one you haven?t considered yet.?

 · ?Don?t let finances stop you. You?d be amazed at the people who will help you if you help them, or the number of opportunities available for little or no cost.?

 · ?Enlist as many people as you can to help you along your journey. The wider your circle of support, the better.?

 · ?And most important of all - Don?t Give Up! It?s a journey and it may take some time, but every step along the way is valuable and worth taking.?



It?s difficult to achieve any goal without a plan...What is the plan? Are there small steps that need to be taken before larger gains are made?

Are there any adaptive devices that would make inclusion more successful?

Communication devices can have especially dramatic impacts on a person?s ability and desire to expand his or her boundaries.

We all know family is important. In addition to immediate family, what about cousins, nieces/nephews, aunts and uncles?

Build relationships with the younger members of the extended family as well.

Don?t underestimate the miraculous properties of laughter in bringing people together.

Playfulness is a great ice-breaker in many situations.

What is her dream? Does she want to spend time with her family? Have a pet?

What activities of daily living can she gain independence with? Shopping? Getting the mail?

Help her get to know her neighbors. Plan a block party!

Find some local hot spots to frequent.

Create memories through picture taking, journaling, videography!

Live fully in your own community!

Find one new park, coffee shop, activity per month-and take time to 
enjoy it!

Notice those with whom you are in 
community. Seek joy in the journey of camaraderie!

Build community out of something you love to do.

Engage someone you don?t know by asking them a question.

Find others with common interests.  Help him start a book club, join a walking group, watch John Wayne movies!

Help him share his story with others!  Storytelling breeds inspiration and shows what is possible.

Help him get to know local business owners.  A friendly neighborhood is a welcoming one!

Explore opportunities for home ownership.  What options are out there for him to create a long term home?

Help him advocate for something he really wants!  How can you help him have his needs and desires truly heard?

How does she want to spend her working hours?  Does a particular sort of job appeal to her?  

What are his hobbies?  Is there a group he could join with others who share the same interests?

Is there a different living arrangement that would help her realize her dreams of independence?

How can he get involved in his community?  Are there volunteer opportunities that would ?make a difference? for him?

Don?t let age be a barrier to change - It?s never too late!

Are there trips she wants to take? What?s on her ?leap? list?

Are we helping people develop and maintain long term relationships?

Explore many ways to communicate and understand a person with limited verbal capabilities. Stay open to alternative means of ?hearing? what is ?said.?

Employment meets social as well as financial goals and can provide continuity in times of change.

Start with a dream! What has he always wanted to do? What activities bring him joy and healing?

Teamwork inspires all of us.  What kind of team can you put together to help her reach her goals?

We all have a place that we feel we ?belong? be it on a stage, in the gym or at the library.  Where does he feel that sense of belonging?

 Contributing to our communities is an essential need for the individual and our communities.  What can you do to support her contribution to others?

 What can we do to see through a lens of Ability rather than Disability? How can we support others to do the same?

Be patient. Sometimes it takes a while to find that perfect job or community opportunity.

 Find places to work or contribute where his skills and interests are appreciated and can grow.

 Engage with community-minded businesses and places where she can meet new people who appreciate what she has to offer.






Stephanie's Story: A Tale of Transition

April 24th, 2013

Walk into any bar in a college town like Ellensburg, Wash., and you?ll often see young adults ringing in their 21st birthdays with a group of friends, a round of drinks and memories in the making.

 The scene was similar the night Stephanie celebrated her 21st birthday.

 ?I was turning the big 2-1, and I wanted a big 2-1 party,? Stephanie  recalls. ?I had the best time of my life.?

 But in many ways, Stephanie?s birthday bash was more than a casual rite of passage. And the ?gummy bear drink? served in an oversized martini glass was more than just the signature  cocktail of the local Starlight Lounge. The outing was a symbol of newfound freedoms Stephanie had only dreamed of a few months earlier.

 Stephanie lived in a skilled nursing facility for two years before moving into an Elmview supported living program in March. She signed a lease on a duplex that she shares with two roommates and a cat named Leanne.

?I feel proud of leaving the skilled nursing facility and coming into a nice program like this, and getting my own house,? Stephanie smiles. ?It?s like a new beginning for me, and I just love my new beginning.?

Her new living arrangement comes with new responsibilities such as paying bills, as well as new opportunities to venture into the community to places like the grocery store. Perhaps    mundane, monotonous and considered by most to be a chore, these types of tasks are quickly becoming part of a routine Stephanie is embracing.

 ?I love grocery shopping,? Stephanie says, adding that her mom or an  Elmview staffer usually tags along on her shopping excursions.

 As Stephanie browses the grocery aisles, she is relishing the independence she has in making choices about meal planning, while also learning about careful budgeting and healthy eating.

 She finds the most joy, however, in spending time with her mom. Mother-daughter get-togethers were few and far between during Stephanie?s stay in the skilled nursing facility. Now that she has control over her schedule, she makes the 10-minute jaunt to her mom?s house almost daily.

 ?It?s important to be involved with  family. But if Stephanie wants to do other things, she should do that, too,?   Elmview program manager Kristen  Jarvis points out. ?Now that Stephanie lives in the community, she has all this freedom to go to the water park or the zoo, or to do things that she?s never had the opportunity to do, and she should really take advantage of it.?

 Kristen?s encouragement to engage seems to be giving Stephanie the nudge she needs. She and a roommate beat the heat one July afternoon at the Surf ?n Slide Water Park in Moses Lake where Stephanie traded in her motorized chair for an inner tube to float the aquatic center?s ?Lazy River.?

We had fun over there,? Stephanie says. ?I didn?t want to leave that place.?

 Looking forward, Stephanie has agreed to help organize another trip to the water park next summer and also help coordinate other Elmview activities   including the annual barbeque, spring fling dance and holiday parties.

 Stephanie?s outgoing personality is coming in handy as she finds her place in the community. She is energized by meeting new people and says she feels welcome wherever she goes.

 People in Ellensburg are very accepting of individuals with disabilities, Kristen says. For Stephanie, this is evidenced in small, everyday gestures.

 ?When we went to the Starlight Lounge, the bartender greeted us when we walked in the restaurant door, and I just loved it,? Stephanie says.

 Working toward a goal of eventually living on her own with minimal assistance, Stephanie hopes her birthday celebration - which included that memorable visit to the Starlight Lounge - will be one of many milestones she will reach in the community she is proud to call home.


March 2013 Newsletter

April 11th, 2013

?Don?t ever tell me that I can?t try.?
These are words that most of us can relate to ? the instinctive desire to have a chance at anything and everything, and to have a say in how our lives are played out.

In this issue you'll meet Jeremy whose move to Vancouver opened all sorts of new opportunities to become part of the community.  We also have an update on Stephanie from our August 2012 issue, and BIG NEWS about the Community Inclusion Award

January 2013 Newsletter

March 7th, 2013

What does it take to achieve a black belt in martial arts?  Ken, a black belt in Taekwondo, says, ?Mainly, you have to have a black belt attitude.?

Come and meet Ken, whose adventures do not stop with Taekwondo... there's also chess... and bowling...