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Inclusion: The active engagement of people with disabilities as service members in all levels of national and community service
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Engaging Veterans with Disabilities and Wounded Warriors in National and Community Service

A participant in the Wounded Warrior Project’s Soldier Ride heads to the South Lawn of the White House through the Diplomatic Reception Room before the start of their ride, May 4, 2011. The President welcomed the group to the White House in advance of their fifth annual ride on Friday and Saturday. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

A participant in the Wounded Warrior Project's Soldier Ride heads to the South Lawn of the White House through the Diplomatic Reception Room before the start of their ride, May 4, 2011. The President welcomed the group to the White House in advance of their fifth annual ride on Friday and Saturday. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Background

As part of its mission to engage all Americans in service and as directed by the 2009 Edward M. Kennedy Service America Act, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) places a high priority on engaging veterans in community service, including those with disabilities.

In 2010, the CNCS launched the Engaging Veterans with Disabilities Initiative to enhance the capacity of national service programs to recruit, engage and support veterans with disabilities as active service members in structured volunteer experiences. The Corporation is conducting the Engaging Veterans with Disabilities in National and Community Service Initiative through its National Service Inclusion Project, housed at the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts Boston, in partnership with CTAT (Center for Technical Assistance and Training) and Operation TBI Freedom at Denver Options.

Objectives

The purpose of the initiative is to identify promising practices, products and delivery strategies that can be used to guide the practice, policies and procedures of service programs as they recruit and support veterans with disabilities.

Methods

  1. Interviews with veterans who are current or former AmeriCorps or other national service volunteers.
  2. Discussion groups with active duty soldiers from the Wounded Transition Units and veterans to speak about what would engage them in national or community service.

Target Participants

The initial target of the initiative is enlisted soldiers who served in Afghanistan or Iraq and veterans who experience traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder and other combat-related issues. In a later phase, the project will explore how the strategies and products can be generalized to additional groups of veterans.

Common Themes from 2010 Interviews

How to Engage Veterans

Veterans indicated in the first interviews and discussion groups that they preferred marketing materials that considered the following:

Project Funding Provided by

Engaging Veterans with Disabilities in National and Community Service Initiative is a project of the National Service Inclusion Project (NSIP), a training and technical assistance provider on disability inclusion, under a cooperative agreement (#08TAHMA001) from the Corporation for National and Community Service. NSIP partners with CTAT and Operation TBI Freedom at Denver Options to increase the participation of veterans with disabilities in national service.



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©The National Service Inclusion Project (NSIP) is a training and technical assistance provider on disability inclusion, under a cooperative agreement (#08TAHMA001) from Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). 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.