UCP of Southwest Florida: Volunteers with Disabilities Are Giving Back

By Sunrise Group on April 8, 2016

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Guest Blogger: Leslie Steiner
Executive Director
Sunrise Community, Inc.
United Cerebral Palsy of SWFL

Naples_02Volunteerism by persons with developmental disabilities is meaningful engagement in the community and it serves as a valuable and much needed contribution in communities all over Florida. While it is estimated that between 2.5 and 3% of the general population has a developmental disability, volunteers with developmental disabilities are sometimes overlooked when organizations seek out help to support their programs. Fortunately, the “Knights of Columbus” in Naples are very aware of the positive impact that people with intellectual and physical disabilities can have on a program. Volunteers from Naples Adult Day Training Program spent the week of April 4th helping out the “Knights of Columbus” with their tootsie roll drive! UCP Volunteers were assigned the Naples Publix and the manager was impressed by all the their hard work! At the end of a long day, Publix graciiously treated UCP volunteers to refreshments.

Including volunteers with disabilities in charity activities is good for everyone! Through their service, volunteers with physical and mental challenges often change the perspectives of the communities in which they work. A diverse volunteer pool provides benefits such as improved public image, Naples_03increased access to talented groups, diminished volunteer turnover, and improved overall financial operation. In addition to this, organizations that engage volunteers with disabilities are often more representative of society. As a result, charities are able to attract a greater number of service users, and appear more welcoming to patients, customers, donors, the general public, and even other volunteers. It is literally a win-win for all involved.