When individuals with disabilities seek support, they often find budget cuts and waiting lists rather than opportunities and connections. The overburdened social services system fails many in their searches for employment, housing, and other resources. And when the system fails, individuals struggle.
Individuals with disabilities face disproportionate rates of isolation and depression. Without opportunities to pursue interests and engage in the community, they miss the chance to build relationships and practice social skills. According to a nationwide survey, 40 percent of individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities feel lonely at least half of the time. Almost one in four reported not having friends beyond their family and paid staff.
These individuals are not just statistics. They live, work, and dream in our communities, and they have gifts and strengths to share.
When individuals with disabilities make connections, the possibilities are endless. Relationships can lead to jobs, new homes, and meaningful activities. They improve health, reduce stress, and build self-worth. These connections allow individuals with disabilities to fulfill their potentials and contribute to enriched communities.
Through the Community Connectors and Bridge Builder Project, Center for Independent Futures will facilitate these connections in Evanston, Illinois. Volunteers and organization members will meet individuals with disabilities who share their interests and support them to participate in activities and attend meetings. These simple introductions into groups, hobbies, or volunteering opportunities create fuller lives and more inclusive communities. This approach taps into existing resources to support the dreams and independence of all community members.
If you’re ready to build a bridge in your community, download the Bridge Builder Application here.
Email the completed form to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Cynthia at (847) 328-2044.
Statistic source: National Core Indicators Adult Consumer Survey, 2013-14