Category Archives: Service Learning

National Service – Including People with Disabilities

There is an increasing interest in providing some transition experiences through service learning.  One Organization, the National Service Inlcusion Project (NSIP), provides technical assistance for organizations to include people with disabilities in their service program.  The NSIP website is filled with tools and resources for those interested in starting or enhancing a service program for people with disabilities.

One story highlights a young man with Cerebral Palsy developing life skills through service in Iowa.

As an individual with cerebral palsy, many activities are more exhausting to me than to the average person. Growing up, I was told that physical therapy and exercise was the number one way to work on building my endurance, mainly so I would be able to be active and productive as I got older. Things would not come easy for me, as I was told, so I would need to work all the more diligently to stay up with others, be it physically, academically, or socially. It seems only natural, therefore, that the same thing can be said about serving others. I decided to take part in AmeriCorps’ Iowa Campus Compact program primarily because I was feeling a strong call to volunteer and serve others. The crux was that I did not feel confident in my own ability to follow through with such an important yet challenging call. I knew from past experience that if the going got tough early on, if I felt that I was incapable of serving meaningfully or in a way that suited my capabilities, there was a chance that I might get disgruntled and quit altogether. Acknowledging that quitting was not an option, I turned to the Iowa Campus Compact program as a kind of service therapy. I would be able to build up my service muscles with others, sharing our experiences and holding each other accountable.

Read more about NSIP and how to get involved here.


On transitioning a teen with special needs into adulthood

Love That Max Blog guest post (January 2013):  A parent’s experiences and perspectives on preparing a child with a disability for adulthood.

This guest post is from the awe-inspiring Laverne Bissky, mom to Kasenya, who has cerebral palsy. Laverne is an inspirational speaker, writer and coach who writes at No Ordinary Journey. Along with  her husband, son and Kasenya, the family has backpacked in North America, Australia, South East Asia, Africa, Europe and South America. She recently created a cookbook that benefits programs the couple run for kids with special needs in Vietnam. 

The transition from the old year to the new is a good time for reflection. As parents we usher our children through many transitions but as parents of a child with a disability trepidation is often part of that process. Perhaps the scariest is the transition to adulthood which will happen soon for us since my daughter will be turning 18 in 2013. As I reflect on that, I realize that whether we thought of it this way or not our preparation started from the day Kasenya was born.


The transition to adulthood involves many decisions. Decisions need to be made about guardianship and applications made for funding so that Kasenya can continue to have the services that she needs. Later we will need to think about where she will live as an adult. The least urgent but most important questions is what she do with her time once she is no longer in school. I have always hoped that as an adult she would be as independent as possible and I knew in my heart that she would contribute something positive to the world, but given the severity of her CP what would that be? That question is beginning to answer itself.

Continue reading the post here.

Read more about Kasenya and her family at their blog, No Ordinary Journey.