The Island Disability Coalition (IDC) is supporting eight community organizations in working toward offering more inclusive spaces, programming, and cultures.
According to Julie Lively, resource specialist for IDC, the coalition will be providing individualized project assistance and strategic support from King Inclusion Consulting in order to bolster inclusive recreation and leisure opportunities for those with disabilities.
The organizations selected for the awards participated in an application process that required them to outline their individual inclusiveness projects and strategic goals, with the focus being on fully integrating inclusive practices and thinking into their cultures.
While things have been shut down due to the pandemic, Lively said, Island organizations have been working hard to focus on inclusivity in their regular operations.
With so many projects in the works surrounding inclusive programming and culture, IDC wanted to focus on getting involved with these initiatives at the ground level, and supporting organizations in their requests for proposals (RFP) and implementation processes.
“We received the applications, and the priority was really that we didn’t want to do just one and done. We were focused on working to help these organizations truly make an impact,” Lively said. “How can we get involved at the ground level or at a higher strategic level, so that inclusive thinking and practice is just part of your culture from here forward? That’s how organizations really benefit from this.”
Lively said she is excited about the various projects each of the eight organizations is working on.
Of the eight organizations to receive inclusiveness support, the Edgartown library is looking to improve its outdoor play area and use it as additional programming space that offers more than just Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance.
“It’s so much more than just adding pretty flowers and trees — really making it respectful and taking a look at the types of programs and messaging materials to invite those with any type of a disability to their organization,” Lively said.
At Island Grown Initiative (IGI), the award will go toward planning and implementing increased accommodations for those with disabilities in both their indoor greenhouse and outdoor spaces.
IGI is currently working on a major building and renovation project, so Lively said now is the perfect time to get involved in planning for a more inclusive space and experience.
Other organizations that will receive support include the Martha’s Vineyard Boys & Girls Club, the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival, Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary, Misty Meadows Equine Center, The Trustees and The FARM Institute, and the YMCA of Martha’s Vineyard.