The Arc Kent County, The Arc of Western Wayne County, and The Arcadia Institute

Project Name: Community Participation Initiative (CPI)

Contact Information:
Lynette Dooley
(616) 459-3339
629 Michigan NE, Suite D
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Project Goals

  • Agencies will welcome students with disabilities into the programs provided for community members without disabilities;
  • Agencies will participate in the necessary training and coaching sessions required to include individuals with disabilities;
  • Agencies will participate in an ongoing collaborative relationship with Arc chapters;
  • Students will exercise choices in inclusive community activities. They will be empowered by being able to choose involvement that speaks to their specific interest areas;
  • Students will gain competencies, such as how to enter into and be part of different environments; and
  • Students and their families will establish ongoing relationships with generic community agencies.

Project Description

This project is part of the Community Participation Initiative (CPI), which is a movement begun by The Arcadia Institute of Kalamazoo, Mi., to open doors throughout the community for people with disabilities to participate in inclusive activities that they choose. In consultation with The Institute, the two Arc chapters are creating partnerships with community agencies, the school systems, and the local community mental health systems. CPI does not create parallel or separate programs in which people with disabilities are isolated from others who take part in the agency’s programs. Rather, the project builds upon each agency’s strengths, assumes a welcoming environment, and enlists buy-in and endorsement of the program from directors and staff. The project provides technical assistance to help staff make any necessary accommodations to their programs; provides on-site coaching to agency staff, one-on-one or in a group setting; and remains available when problems arise, providing concrete solutions. To assist other Arc chapters in Michigan in replicating CPI in their communities, information and training is provided.