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National Service and Inclusion Project

Inclusion: The active engagement of people with disabilities as service members in all levels of national and community service
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UMass ICI

photo of Emily Miller interviewing Kevin PachecoParticipants: Emily E. Miller

National Service Fellow, September, 2000 – July, 2001
Service Facilitator, ADD Corps / AmeriCorps at Temple University's Institute on Disabilities 1998-2000
Contact: eem3@hotmail.com


"I think this is great what you are doing, but what made you decide to do this project? What's your story?" -- Michai Freeman

Why did I propose this project?

My background in oral history and experience working with and for people with disabilities in a national service program inspired Service & Inclusion. This project has supported my passion for producing conversational stories in sound. I took a year off from a graduate program in public history because the opportunity for supported fieldwork and multimedia production represented a tremendous professional opportunity for me.

I enjoyed the conversations with participants in national service programs who have disabilities. I see them as a crucial part of discussions in national service about both fulfilling a commitment to civil rights and supporting community.

Do I have a disability?

I am a member of a group that an AmeriCorps *VISTA member I met recently called, "The temporarily able-bodied." I struggle with depression and recognize that both "natural supports" and vocational creativity have kept me from needing reasonable accommodation.

What else about me?

For years I have supported myself with a diverse spectrum of employment. Several years ago I was providing personal assistance services for a woman who had multiple sclerosis; helping a man in his eighties to write his memoir; "coaching" a group of individuals in a supported employment program; and interviewing elders as a volunteer with a Gay and Lesbian Oral History Project. During one of my weekly phone conversations with my then 90-year-old grandmother, she mentioned an ancestor with a cognitive disability about whom I'd never heard. My great uncle, Monroe Miller, hadn't come up in conversation for the first twenty-seven years of my life.

What is my agenda?

The world that I imagine with this project values the talents and perspectives of all people and assumes about people only that they are the experts of their own lives.

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©The National Service Inclusion Project (NSIP) is a training and technical assistance provider on disability inclusion. NSIP partners with the Association on University Centers on Disability, National Council on Independent Living, Association on Higher Education and Disability and National Down Syndrome Congress to build connections between disability organizations and all CNCS grantees, including national directs, to increase the participation of people with disabilities in national service.