Working to create inclusive communities is the foundational purpose of the Georgia Winter Institute (GWI) hosted by the Center for Leadership in Disability (CLD) at Georgia State University. This one-of-a-kind event brings together people from across Georgia and beyond to discover how to use values-based, person-centered philosophies in building strong, diverse, and inclusive communities for people with and without disabilities. Attendees include representatives of state agencies, service providers, educators, advocacy groups, faith communities, business leaders, and civic organizations.
CLD is excited to present this conference as a catalyst for a change towards informed leadership and empowered citizens. It is our belief that this change can happen by strengthening a few of the cornerstones of a inclusive community such as person-centered philosophies which support improved employment, financial independence and inclusive faith communities. Those factors are imperative to successful inclusion because:
- Community building makes our cities and towns stronger with more active and involved populations.
- The gifts and abilities of people in our communities are varied, and they often require an entrepreneurial spirit to translate into career possibilities. The financial education and security of people is vital to every community.
- For many people with disabilities and their families, faith communities can be a powerful source of natural community support and connection, as well as a doorway to other important outcomes in the areas of relationships, work, community living, recreation, and service.
GWI 2014 brought together more than 150 people who attended sessions on housing, post-secondary education opportunities, community supports, business opportunities, and employment for people with disabilities. We look forward to welcoming over 175 participants to our next conversation of community and inclusion. GWI 2015 will hold learning sessions on viable and sustainable options for all people to have successful financial futures to include employment, inclusive faith-based communities, and planning processes that help people achieve their goals.
–Written by Maria Pinkelton, Center for Leadership in Disability at Georgia State University
Kids Included Together (KIT) is a non-profit located in San Diego, CA and Washington, DC. We help make the world a more inclusive place by providing live and online training to people who work with kids. We teach strategies, accommodations and best practices to include kids with and without disabilities in before & after school programs. Inclusive environments create stronger communities. Learn more about our work at www.KITonline.org.