Volunteering: For Disability Professionals
As a disability professional, you play a key role in encouraging and supporting people with disabilities and their families to fully engage in civic opportunities like volunteering.
In the links below, we provide information on how you can help foster inclusive volunteering opportunities, and how to engage local businesses to build inclusive volunteering partnerships.
Include Volunteer Community Service Opportunities in Support Plans
Sometimes, volunteer work and service is not considered as an option when a person with I/DD and his or her support team is making a support plan. As you and your colleagues help people with I/DD to make individual support and service plans, allow the person to consider whether he or she wants to volunteer and help him or her identify service opportunities that he or she would be interested in. This article reviews the different types of service people engage in and offers some key questions you can use to help connect a person with I/DD to volunteer opportunities in the community.
Foster Inclusive Volunteer Programs in Your Community via Local Partnerships
If you are looking for ways to build inclusive volunteering opportunities in your community, focus on individual projects and short-term community efforts. Often, small projects can help neighborhoods and local community organizations without significant experience working with people with disabilities improve their knowledge of how to engage and support volunteers with disabilities. Check out this report from Seattle that shares stories and strategies on how to support people with I/DD to become more involved in community life for inspiration on how you may be able to develop similar activities in your community.
Think Outside of the Box
Some of the biggest challenges for disability professionals are to find volunteer opportunities that match the interests of the people that you serve, that avoid unintentionally segregating people with I/DD, and that connect people with I/DD meaningfully to other well-connected volunteers in the community. Check out the tip sheet for recommendations on how you can overcome these common challenges.
What Else Can I Do?
Check with your local chapter of The Arc to learn more about other local volunteer opportunities you may want to participate in or connect the people you support with!