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Disability Network Southwest Michigan

Spring in to Action: Connect to Your Community

hands raisedSpring is a great time to break out of your shell and look for ways to connect to your community—volunteer with a non-profit, join a cause or get involved with your local civic/government entity.

Getting engaged in your community doesn’t mean you have to step into the spotlight and run for office, although that is certainly one way to get involved! Getting involved can take a lot of different forms: individually or as part of a group; going out in the community or working from your home; being a vocal activist or working behind the scenes—whatever your preferred style is, there is something out there for you to do!

Volunteering

Volunteer opportunities could be anything from stuffing envelopes to serving on a committee or board of directors. You can start by looking at the organizations or causes you feel passionate about; most non-profits have volunteer opportunities.
If you don’t know where you want to volunteer you can contact your local “211” agency or area United Way, they will help connect you or refer you to the agency in your community that handles volunteer coordination. You can also search the internet for volunteer opportunities.

Becoming Publicly Active

Getting involved in your local government is also a great way to engage your community and get involved with issues that interest you. All governing bodies hold scheduled public meetings—you can simply attend to show your support for an issue or prepare a public comment for consideration at the meetings. Becoming involved with a public campaign, whether in suport of a particular candidate or policy issue, is another way to become involved.

Bringing disability rights issues to the table

As you become connected to organizations in your community, don’t be shy about raising disability rights issues. You don’t have to be working with a disability-related agency to be a disability rights activist! While serving an organization in whatever capacity you are in, you can help them be more inclusive to the disability community. This might relate to physical access, the formats they offer their information in, the language they use or their ability to offer accommodations. Remember, disability rights are civil rights, and it’s important when we are out working in the community to shine light on these issues.

LUNCH & LEARN WORKSHOP:
Making a Difference in Your Community

Are you ready to “be the change you want to see in the world” but are not sure where to start? Join us for a light lunch as we talk about finding ways to put our passion into action! Follow this link for information about our Make A Difference workshops being held in Kalamazoo  and St. Joseph in May.