Inclusion of People with Disabilities
People with disabilities are marginalized and excluded all too often. We aim to improve the lives of people with disabilities by supporting efforts that promote inclusion and that empower people with disabilities towards self-sufficiency. The following list is a representation of recent grants and projects in the area of Inclusion of People with Disabilities in which The Mayerson Foundation is involved.
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Urban Adamah (Hebrew for earth) is an educational farm and community in Berkeley, CA, that integrates the practices of Jewish tradition, sustainable agriculture, mindfulness, and social action to build loving, just, and sustainable communities. It is functioning farm with crops and small animals producing approx. 15,000 pounds of food per year which is all donated to local food banks and a weekly free farm stand serving neighbors with limited access to fresh, organic produce. It offers dozens of programs for children, families, and adults each year (including farming skills workshops, Jewish holiday celebrations and communal events related to food, sustainable agriculture, music, arts, etc… It also runs a post-college residential internship program, thriving summer and winter camps and more.
The Mayerson Foundation supports Urban Adamah’s efforts to reach and engage people with disabilities through the development of focused areas where visitors can go far beyond simple accessibility and experience hands-on, deep engagement in farm activities such as a raised bed that can be cultivated from a wheelchair, a specially designed fragrant garden and an area with plants with diverse textures for vision impaired visitors.
LADD (Living Arrangements for the Developmentally Disabled) provides a variety of programs and services for people with disabilities, from young adults just leaving high school to older adults who qualify for senior services.
ReelAbilities Film Festival, organized by LADD, brings together the community to promote awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories and artistic expressions of people with different abilities. ReelAbilities Film Festival showcases films, conversations and artistic programs to explore, embrace, and celebrate the diversity of our shared human experience.
A grant from the Mayerson Foundation supports the ReelAbilities Education Outreach Program which uses art and poetry to promote and foster classroom environments that are respectful, positive and inclusive for all students - including those who experience disability and difference.
In 2012, The Mayerson Foundation was instrumental in helping to develop the groundbreaking Transition and Access Program (TAP) at The University of Cincinnati, designed to offer students with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities - including Down syndrome, autism, and Asperger syndrome - an authentic, non-degreed college experience to build a bridge from high school to adulthood. Additional supports are put in place to allow students to live in a dorm, attend classes, train in professional internships and participate in an active social life. This four-year program allows students to accrue college credits, receive a certificate and competitively sets them on the road to employment.
The TAP program has helped the University of Cincinnati become an emerging leader in creating authentic inclusive living-learning experiences that build career skills, academic achievement, personal responsibility, interpersonal competence, and a promising future. The goal is for every student to become an independent adult and enjoy a satisfying and meaningful quality of life.
May We Help is an organization of volunteers engineers who design and create unique custom solutions for individuals with special needs to engage in and pursue their passions.
The Mayerson Foundation awarded support to May We Help for the purchase of specialized manufacturing equipment to be used in the creation of custom assistive devices for clients with special needs.
May We Help addresses the need for unique, customized devices to assist physically disabled individuals with highly specific, and in most cases one of a kind, devices that are more complicated for most assistance device companies to mass produce.
The INclusion Network was established as an initiative of The Mayerson Foundation in 1996 to focus exclusively on helping the Cincinnati community become more inclusive of people with disabilities in school, at work, in religious congregations, and in public venues. Since its inception, the INclusion Network fielded requests from individuals and organizations for information, referral, and technical assistance, hosted a fully inclusive annual awards event, and conducted a variety of specialty projects. It established the topic of inclusion as one of community importance by reaching out to political and business leaders in addition to service organizations and educational institutions.
Having accomplished much of its primary mission of changing attitudes about inclusion in the city, the Inclusion Network wound down its operations, and today a long-established nonprofit organization, LADD (http://www.laddinc.org) and various community partners carry the torch of much of this work forward.