Build Inclusion was formed by parents of children with varying abilities, who know that true inclusion must move beyond “awareness.” It’s “experience” that produces empathy and creates relationships – socially, professionally and recreationally. Those relationships are vital to the degree of independence that persons with disabilities are able to enjoy.
Like-minded members of our community, including industry professionals and self-advocates, who shared our vision joined us to develop our flagship disability education program, AIM! Advocacy + Inclusion on a Mission. AIM! was embraced by four pilot schools in its first year. In that same year, we co-hosted a disability vendor fair that was attended by nearly 400 people who were seeking information about local resources for their children with disabilities. The need was obvious.
We surveyed teachers, administrators and students at all the schools that had hosted AIM! and learned that overwhelmingly we had conveyed valuable information to children and adults. Not only was AIM! invited back to the first schools we visited, the program has spread even further – beyond the public school system to include private schools, extracurricular organizations and after-school programs.
Intending to serve families and children in a cross-disability environment from elementary school to transition into adulthood, Build Inclusion expanded the reach beyond education, tackling other barriers – to meaningful employment, recreational opportunities and social outlets. Build Inclusion, Inc. became a federally registered 501(c)(3) in August 2015 as the parent company of AIM! and an expanded list of programs.
Our mission is to build natural networks and community access for persons with disabilities through the power of education, engagement and employment.
Build Inclusion is more than a business. It’s a movement to make inclusion of persons with disabilities an expected norm in our community. We believe it’s about human rights: our loved ones and friends deserve to live as independent a life as they desire. Barriers to education, employment, team participation and friendship should not be the hindrance to any individual reaching his or her full potential. That’s why we say, “Exclusion isn’t always intentional, but inclusion must be.”