As we continue to be intentional about increasing our lens on diversity and inclusivity we have been talking a lot about ways to put people first.


Jennifer Hoesing is the Director of Development at DakotAbilities. She says that thinking people with disabilities can only receive services and not give back is one of the barriers we can easily break down while making the community an even better place.

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Jennifer says it’s important to remember that giving back feels good and that people with disabilities have any interest in giving back to their communities, just as all good neighbors do.

“That’s what inclusive volunteering is all about – making opportunities available to anyone who would like to make a difference.”

Jennifer Hoesing

RELATED: Rethinking ability: Representation matters

Jennifer Hoesing and Ashley Thompson on the KELOLAND Living set
Jennifer Hoesing and Ashley Thompson on the KELOLAND Living set

Potential Barriers:

  • Thinking people with disabilities can only receive services and not give back
  • Physical accessibility
  • Personal supports – a person may need support with health while volunteering
  • Transportation to and from volunteering
  • Finding volunteer opportunities

Creating inclusive volunteer opportunities:

  • Reach out to organizations like DakotAbilities or long-term care centers to make opportunities available – actively seek out volunteers!
  • Encourage partnership and mentorship relationships to build natural supports
  • Consider physical accessibility of spaces where people using assistive technology would be volunteering
  • Consider transportation – do you have any opportunities to make transportation available to someone who may need it?

RELATED: How to be more inclusive of people with disabilities