Drum roll, please!
Bev Weinberg
Inclusive Hiring Strategies for Individuals with Disabilities
The modern workplace is gradually embracing diversity and inclusion. One overlooked aspect of this transformation centers around effectively integrating individuals with disabilities into the workforce. Today, Integrate for Good delves into actionable tactics that can be applied to make hiring practices more inclusive for individuals with disabilities.
Ed Carter
Thank you!
Bev Weinberg
Dreams really do come true!
Bev Weinberg
Navigating New Horizons: Strategic Business Building for Parents with Disabilities
Starting a small business offers a multitude of opportunities for parents with disabilities, promising autonomy and a platform to showcase unique perspectives. It represents not just a career choice, but a stride towards greater independence and economic empowerment.
Ed Carter
Shout-out to YOU!
We are so grateful to our incredible Integrate for Good raffle volunteers who spent their Saturday here with me putting together AMAZING baskets worth more than $9,000 for our Community Heroes Night at the Races!
Bev Weinberg
Shout out to Ben and Cara!
Cara Marie Cushing and Ben Hartranft joined our Executive Director for a great evening of networking at Local and on Tap with The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Montgomery County. They worked the room!
Bev Weinberg
Our Hero!
Congratulations to Steve and Patrizia Carcarey of the Collegeville Italian Bakery Pizzeria Napoletana!
Bev Weinberg
What a night for Cara!
Thank you to Cara Cushing, our incredible Down Syndrome self-advocate and Integrate for Good Community Educator! Cara represented us at the Greater Montgomery County Local and on Tap networking event last night...without me there! This is a picture of empowerment!
Bev Weinberg
We're so excited for Eric!
You may remember Eric from our recent North Penn School District Empowerment Lab. He worked with us to discover his strengths and abilities, created a digital portfolio, and is using it to begin his job search this week! We can't wait to see who is lucky enough to hire him!
Bev Weinberg
This post is a little different.
At Integate for Good, we believe every student deserves an exciting next chapter. We know how to make that happen with our innovative Empowerment Lab, Opening Doors on Campus, Leadership Incubator, and Corporate Engagement programs.
Bev Weinberg
Exciting news from Integrate for Good!
Congratulations to Cara and Heather for presenting their work with Integrate for Good on a National Stage in Orlando last week! This is what empowerment is all about!
Bev Weinberg
Volunteer and Leadership Opportunities for Transition Age Individuals with Disabilities
Dr. Bev Weinberg, Founder and Executive Director of Integrate for Good, discusses how her organization works to create meaningful volunteer and leadership opportunities for transition age individuals with disabilities, and at the same time enrich local communities.
Steph Sides
Integrate for Good & Social Work
As a social work student, one of the first things I learned was about the importance of ethics and values in practice.
Brooke Williams
Monthly Recurring Gifts Make A Large Impact - for You and Others
Recurring Monthly Gift programs fill gaps in nonprofit funding. Recurring gifts, are monthly recurring donation which allows supporters to spread the financial impact of your giving across the entire year, lessening the acute financial effect. They are beneficial to donors and charities.
Steph Sides
Get to know our 2021 Summer Dream Team!
Some non-profits lose steam over the summer… but not us! Our 2021 Summer Dream Team has been working hard these past few months to make sure that Integrate for Good is going full steam ahead. Keep reading to meet our awesome interns and employees who have helped to make this amazing summer possible!
Bev Weinberg
Leadership Incubator
We share a community rich in social and economic opportunity. But too often, our community members with disabilities face barriers to the opportunities many of us value.
Bev Weinberg
What is ambiguous loss?
When a person lives with a life-altering disability, their families may feel a sense of loss. Feelings that may be associated with this are different than those that are associated with a death-related loss. Many families and caregivers of a family member who lives with a disability may experience ambiguous loss.
Bev Weinberg
Social Role Valorization
Social Role Valorization: A Basic Overview & Defining Important Terms     Have you ever noticed that people who are more valued by society or who hold roles that society values get to experience more of the “good things” in life? This phenomenon is explained by the Social Role Valorization (SRV) theory. SRV says that those who are in social roles that are valued by society and determined by societal norms, they are more likely to have access to and receive the “good things” that society has to offer (Osburn, 2006). On the other hand, individuals and groups who do not hold valued social roles, or who hold roles that are devalued, have very little access to the good things; therefore, holding a valued social role is essential in order to gaining access to the good things (Osburn, 2006).  What Exactly Are The “Good Things” In Life? The good things in life include how individuals are treated by society, ability to access opportunities and resources, and ability to participate in society. According to Osburn (2006), some examples are: ·      “Being accorded dignity, respect, and acceptance; ·      A sense of belonging; ·      An education; ·      The development and exercise of one’s capacities; ·      A voice in the affairs of one’s community and society; ·      Opportunities to participate; ·      A decent material standard of living; ·      An at least normative place to live; ·      Opportunities for work and self support.”Who Are Considered Devalued Groups? People who are devalued by society include individuals and groups who experience negative treatment systematically, and often have a similar pattern of experiences: 1.     “Being perceived and interpreted as deviant, due to their negatively-valued differentness. The latter could consist of physical or functional impairments, low competence, a particular ethnic identity, certain behaviors of associations, skin color, and many others. 2.     Being rejected by community, society, and even family services. 3.     Being cast into negative social roles, some of which can be severely negative, such as subhuman, menace, and burden on society. 4.     Being put and kept at a social or physical distance, the latter most commonly by segregation. 5.     Having negative images (including language) attached to them. 6.     Being the object of abuse, violence, and brutalization, and even being made dead.” (Osburn, 2006). It is beneficial to understand SRV and the perspective it provides because by recognizing that devalued groups are having consistently negative experiences, it can then eventually help to avoid these negative experiences from continuing, at first on an individual level and then on a larger scale over time. For individuals and groups who are devalued, the good things in life are often seen as unattainable and the bad things in life become every day experiences. This is why understanding that all social roles in society should be valued; so that the good things can be more equally and equitably distributed, and that everybody can be treated with dignity and respect unconditionally.
Bev Weinberg
Barriers to Employment for People with Disabilities
One way that Integrate for Good works with the communities we serve is through our Empowerment Lab program. Empowerment Lab is designed based on the doctoral research of IFG’s founder and executive director, which demonstrated that individuals who are connected to their communities are more likely to be employed, more likely to have better mental and physical health, and have a better quality of life. Empowerment Lab consists of a series of workshops where students and adults learn about strategies for self-advocacy, learn to identify areas of interest, build self-efficacy, and ultimately create a digital portfolio that they can use as a tool for self-advocacy to gain employment or a volunteer position.Empowerment Lab was designed to be in a format of three half-day long workshops. However, due to COVID-19, IFG has had to adjust and transform the curriculum to an online format. This means Empowerment Lab participants have to be on Zoom for a long time at the beginning of the day. Sitting on Zoom for long periods of time is difficult for anybody! Many people find it helpful to get up and move around in order to take a break and re-energize. For this reason, IFG has incorporated something called a movement break into Empowerment Lab sessions.  A movement break is a quick break that involves very light physical activity. Research continues to show a variety of evidence for the benefits of breaks for students. Breaks do not have to include movement to be beneficial. A study by Immordino-Yang et al. (2012) showed that any time we take any type of break or any time that the brain is resting, the brain is still processing information. Their research showed that the brain’s rest mode is essential for “consolidating memories, reflecting on past experiences, and planning for the future (…) breaks play a key role in cognitive abilities such as reading comprehension and divergent thinking” (Terada, 2018). Breaks, in particular movement breaks, have also been shown to decrease behavior considered “disruptive” in school students (Terada, 2018).  Breaks are also beneficial in areas other than cognitive abilities. Movement breaks that focus more on physical activity could improve the brain’s oxygen levels which in turn improves the activity in neurons and growth of cells in the hippocampus, “the center of learning and memory,” (Terada, 2018). Movement breaks such as recess can also serve as opportunities for students to improve social and play skills. Benefits to allowing breaks that incorporate play for younger students include learning “how to take turns, resolve conflicts, and solve problems. They also learn how to manage their own emotions and behavior,” (Terada, 2018).Breaks can improve different aspects of functioning and skills. Because of the brain’s ability to still process information even while resting or not being consciously stimulated, any type of break, whether it be movement or unstructured, should be incorporated into lessons or between long periods of focus. -Bayley Saffier, MSW
Bev Weinberg
The Power of Movement Breaks
One way that Integrate for Good works with the communities we serve is through our Empowerment Lab program. Empowerment Lab is designed based on the doctoral research of IFG’s founder and executive director, which demonstrated that individuals who are connected to their communities are more likely to be employed, more likely to have better mental and physical health, and have a better quality of life. Empowerment Lab consists of a series of workshops where students and adults learn about strategies for self-advocacy, learn to identify areas of interest, build self-efficacy, and ultimately create a digital portfolio that they can use as a tool for self-advocacy to gain employment or a volunteer position.Empowerment Lab was designed to be in a format of three half-day long workshops. However due to COVID-19, IFG has had to adjust and transform the curriculum to an online format. This means Empowerment Lab participants have to be on Zoom for a long time at the beginning of the day. Sitting on Zoom for long periods of time is difficult for anybody! Many people find it helpful to get up and move around in order to take a break and re-energize. For this reason, IFG has incorporated something called a movement break into Empowerment Lab sessions.  A movement break is a quick break that involves very light physical activity. Research continues to show a variety of evidence for benefits of breaks for students.Breaks do not have to include movement to be beneficial. A study by Immordino-Yang et al. (2012) showed that any time we take any type of break or any time that the brain is resting, the brain is still processing information. Their research showed that the brain’s rest mode is essential for “consolidating memories, reflecting on past experiences, and planning for the future (…) breaks play a key role in cognitive abilities such as reading comprehension and divergent thinking” (Terada, 2018). Breaks, in particular movement breaks, have also been shown to decrease behavior considered “disruptive” in school students (Terada, 2018).  Breaks are also beneficial in areas other than cognitive abilities. Movement breaks that focus more on physical activity could improve the brain’s oxygen levels which in turn improves activity in neurons and growth of cells in the hippocampus, “the center of learning and memory,” (Terada, 2018). Movement breaks such as recess can also serve as opportunities for students to improve social and play skills. Benefits to allowing breaks that incorporate play for younger students include learning “how to take turns, resolve conflicts, and solve problems. They also learn how to manage their own emotions and behavior,” (Terada, 2018). Breaks can improve different aspects of functioning and skills. Because of the brain’s ability to still process information even while resting or not being consciously stimulated, any type of break, whether it be movement or unstructured, should be incorporated into lessons or between long periods of focus. -Bayley Saffier, MSW
Bev Weinberg
Whole Latte Love Café
Throughout American history, many groups have been oppressed due to their identity. But as history moves forward, diversity is becoming widely accepted—Pride Month celebrates diversity within sexuality, Black History Month celebrates racial diversity and accomplishments of Black Americans and Jewish Heritage Month celebrates religious diversity and the fight against anti-Semitism. Yet, one type of diversity still has a lot of stigma surrounding it. Neurodiversity. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statics, in 2019, only 19.3% of adults with disabilities were employed. In contrast, the average unemployment rate in the United States was around 3.5% in 2019. This means that the unemployment rate of individuals with disabilities is 23 times higher than the average United States employment rate.  Whole Latte Love Café, a coffee shop non-profit organization based in North Canton, Ohio, is trying to combat this drastic inequality in unemployment. Much like Integrate for Good, Whole Latte Love Café sees the untapped talent in individuals with disabilities and helps provide an avenue into the workforce. Their mission is simple. They hire adults with disabilities 18 years or older who have graduated high school to work in their coffee shop for up to two years. During that time, they receive paid vocational training where they gain real work experience that can be applied to future jobs. This work experience includes learning customer service skills, problem solving, task completion, motor development and how to effectively communicate with supervisors and coworkers. Additionally, they gain self-advocacy skills, allowing them to be more independent and integrated within the community.  Not only does Whole Latte Love Café help develop working experience through having employees work in the café, they work 1:1 with employees to help develop a plan for after their two-year contract with the café. Through career discovery—a 6-to-12-week program, employees are encouraged to explore their vocational themes of interest, preferences, strengths and strategies to success. They learn about types of jobs that might interest them and visit with potential employers. From there, each individual has a career profile, which summarizes everything learned in the career discovery process and recommends next steps for this individual. They can then use their career profile to explore a career of choosing. Individuals are offered job shadowing at potential new jobs, and even given the opportunity to preform actual job duties to determine whether or not they enjoy this profession Whole Latte Love Café is breaking barriers surrounding neurodiversity by providing individuals with disabilities an opportunity to showcase their talents and challenging society to see them as more than their autism or down syndrome. Their vision of the future is one that we at Integrate for Good wish to see as well—a world where no matter what one’s ability is, everyone is welcomed into the work force and able to share their talents and unique abilities with the community.  To learn more about Whole Latte Love Café, visit their website at https://wholelattelovecafe.orgWhole Latte Love Café
Bev Weinberg
So... What is Empowerment Lab?
What is an Empowerment Lab?Integrate for Good’s innovative programs employ a strengths-based approach to professional and interpersonal development for people of all abilities. Empowerment Lab, having just celebrated its fifth cohort of graduates, is no exception. Empowerment Lab is an initiative designed for transition-age high school students aimed at identifying their unique passions, employable skills, and work environment preferences. The culmination of Empowerment Lab is marked by the creation of a carefully curated digital portfolio, which uses photography and videography to highlight facets of each student which are often uncaptured by a traditional paper resume. The testimonies of the student’s advocates (teachers, advisors, coaches, etc.) and the student themself included in these portfolios make them powerful tools for self-advocacy. Why does our work matter? Historically, the value of neurodiverse talent in the workplace has been overlooked. Not to mention, modern hiring processes are not conducive to the needs of people of all abilities who may require modified working environments to perform at their best.  As DEI becomes an increasing priority to corporations and local businesses, we aim to ensure that disability, which we view as a valued kind of diversity, has a seat at the table. Why does it work?  Given people with disabilities are labeled as “special” from a very young age, many are conditioned to believe these individuals should be recipients of service from others. The primary focus of Empowerment Lab is to overcome this stigma, by encouraging and guiding program participants to identify their passions and innate leadership potential. The research-based curriculum of Empowerment Lab gives students a pathway to finding meaningful, paid employment through instruction, collaboration, and portfolio development. How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected Empowerment Lab?  We believe there is no stronger tool for community connection than face-to-face interaction, but the challenges posed by COVID-19 restrictions necessitated the creation of an online Empowerment Lab program. While we hope to continue Empowerment Lab as an on-site program in local schools, the adaptation of the Empowerment Lab curriculum to a virtual format has shown us a promising way in which our curriculum can be shared with schools in other geographic jurisdictions and even other populations seeking access to employment.
Bev Weinberg
Meet our Empowerment Lab graduates!
Recently, our 2021 cohort of students graduated our Empowerment Lab program. We are so proud of them and we know they will accomplish so much!Get to know them by reading their bios below.Andy Lyle  Andy enjoys staying active and tries to build any type of movement into his day. He also likes to help with daily tasks such as cleaning, organizing, and cooking/baking. In his free time, He likes to swim, observe the weather with a close eye, and spend time with his family. Andy has a great knack for memorizing information such as details about past events, geographical and directional locations, and songs and music. Andy is currently looking for employment or volunteer opportunities where he can be active and use his organizing skills!          Andy Lyle Anthony Staggers Anthony has a variety of interests including math, spending time with his family, playing with animals (especially kittens!) and playing video games. He is always open to trying new things, but also really enjoys working on tasks that are familiar. Anthony enjoys being social and hanging out with his friends and his peers. Anthony is currently looking for volunteer and employment opportunities in his community where he can share his talent and interact with others!Anthony Staggers   Jack Charters Jack loves doing outdoor activities. His favorite things to do are swimming with his family, riding his bike, going to the beach, and walking on trails. He has a deep love for animals and enjoys visiting the pet store when he has free time. Jack is currently looking for volunteer and employment opportunities where he can be active and work with others!Jack Charters
Bev Weinberg
Who will be there to pray?
It’s early Tuesday morning.As the sun is rising,the nursing staff is wheeling my mom down to the operating room to remove a large brain tumor today.My dad woke up at 4 am to drive with her to Jefferson Hospital.Because of COVID, he will be the one to represent our family, having to sit alone for the next five hours while we wait. But the reality is, he is not alone, and neither am I.Last night, I posted a few lines on Facebook.No engaging photo.No video.Just a simple request for positive thoughts and prayers. My eyes were swollen from crying as I sat on the edge of my bed feeling helpless and terrified.And then, I started to receive the notifications.What struck me enough to share this with you, was the diversity of those who responded.My mom retired many years ago as an office manager from Batesville casket company. One of the truck drivers wrote to me saying he would rally all of the other truck drivers to send good thoughts her way.There were friends she made in high school, neighbors, lifelong friends from the synagogue, people we met on our family trip to Israel last year when we celebrated her 50th wedding anniversary with my dad.There were people she’s served with on nonprofit boards, on committees, and in volunteer activities.The ladies she plays mah-jong with sent their prayers our way, along with all of the people she knows through my sister and through me. Within a few minutes, I didn’t feel alone.Even during a time of physical distancing, I felt wrapped in support.I felt hopeful for the first time in days. It made me think.How would things be different if my mom had a disability?Likely, there wouldn’t have been all of the work-related friends.She wouldn’t have had access to community leadership opportunities, so all of those good people she knows through volunteering and board involvement would never have met her or benefitted from her talent, generosity, and compassion.She likely wouldn’t have married, so my dad’s relatives, friends, and colleagues who became her own wouldn’t exist in her life.She wouldn’t have become a mother, so my sister and I wouldn't be here, nor would all of the people who have grown to love her through us. Social capital matters.Relationships matter.Opportunity matters.This morning, my mom is lifted in prayer and positivity and hope.The diverse people surrounding her are praying to their own God, or to the Light, or to their own Higher Power.They are thinking of her and I was able to share those thoughts with her this morning at 5 am as she made the drive into the city with my dad.This support made her smile.I could hear her smile over the phone.It strengthened her in a powerful way.It mattered. So this is my hope:On your worst day, or on your best, you have a community to surround you.To ease your fear.To give you strength.To listen.To raise you up.To cry with you.To celebrate with you.To rally with you. And if you don’t, you’re not alone.It’s why Integrate for Good exists.Everyone should be as lucky as my mom.(Everyone should be as lucky as me to have a mom like her). She’s surrounded by love and support today because she had the opportunity to become a valued, and treasured part of diverse communities.We’ll keep fighting until everyone has those same opportunities.
Bev Weinberg
Three Ways Everyone Benefits When People of All Abilities Volunteer Together
When people with disabilities engage in volunteer opportunities, the joy they experience is evident. The rewards don’t end there. People who work alongside these volunteers also gain from the experience. Read on to learn three ways people of all abilities benefit from volunteering together. Volunteerism builds connections between people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds. Gathering in the same space for a shared activity invites conversation. Over the course of an hour or two, volunteers often find they have common interests—movies, sports teams, music, food, travel. For example, one of Integrate for Good’s young adult volunteers with autism recently connected with a group of homeschool students by sharing his passion for Disney movies. In volunteering, we find that people who look different on the outside may have more in common with us that we realize. Maybe your passion is gardening. Maybe it’s baseball. Sharing your interest can build connection with other volunteers. Diversity broadens how volunteers see themselves and others. Many people engage in volunteer service, often with colleagues or friends. Yet, people with disabilities seldom get that opportunity. They are more likely to be recipients of services. When people of all abilities volunteer together, this imbalance starts to change. People with disabilities begin to see that they can be providers of a service to the community, not just recipients. They feel good about helping other people. They take pride in what they do. Sometimes, they take on leadership roles. Integrate for Good volunteers talk about some of the services they provide and why they like to volunteer in this video. When volunteers working alongside people with disabilities see them share their talents to strengthen the community, they gain a new perspective. They, too, begin to see people with disabilities as providers of services, not just recipients. Everyone has something to learn. Libraries and colleges are valuable learning hubs. When they are the sites of inclusive volunteer events, they open up new learning opportunities. Integrate for Good recently expanded its community volunteer events from libraries to colleges with its Opening Doors on Campus initiative. Volunteering at these venues can introduce people with disabilities to settings that they might not experience elsewhere. They learn new skills while meeting people outside of their usual circles. They also get the chance to teach others what they’ve learned. Students or community members might teach a skill to a volunteer with a disability. Or, they might learn from them. Volunteering with people from different backgrounds and generations can teach us to appreciate each person’s unique abilities. When people of all abilities contribute their talents, the community grows stronger.   Integrate for Good is a 501(c)(3) with a mission is to strengthen local communities by creating opportunities for people of all abilities to contribute their time and talent through volunteerism. Learn more about us at our website, join us at one of our virtual events, or sign up to receive our email updates. You can also find us on: Facebook LinkedIn Twitter
Bev Weinberg
A Guide to Launching a Political Campaign if You Hold a Disability
A Guide to Launching a Political Campaign if You Hold a Disability contributed by Ed Carter, Able Futures (www.ablefutures.org)   According to Pew Research Center, approximately 19 percent of the U.S. population held a disability in 2016 — but the number of elected officials with physical, communicative, or mental disabilities still remains unclear. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any disabled candidates in office. In fact, the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) has recently started tracking this information for future use. At the federal level, several elected officials with disabilities include Shannel Pittman (California), Darren Aquino (Florida), Soren Sorensen (Minnesota), Amanda Siebe (Oregon), and Joshua Collins (Washington). If you’ve been thinking of running for office, your physical, mental, or communicative disability shouldn’t hold you back from launching a political campaign of your own. With the right team of professionals to assist you in planning and launching a campaign, you’ll have everything you need to show the world that individuals with disabilities are just as equipped to run for office as anyone else. For some advice on launching your political campaign, read on! Connect with Local Organizations If you’re thinking of running for office, it’s important to start by connecting with organizations that work to empower individuals with disabilities. Through its portfolio-building workshops, for instance, organizations like Integrate for Good can help you to identify your greatest strengths, passions, abilities, and talents — and connect you to other leaders in the community. Additionally, the NCIL recently launched its first campaign training program for individuals with disabilities. Through this training program, individuals with disabilities can learn how to run for office, hire and pay for a campaign manager, and overcome some of the challenges they’ll likely face along the way. Door-to-door canvassing, for instance, can be a challenge for wheelchair users, but some creative thinking and a good team of volunteers can help you to overcome these common types of barriers. Build Your Political Team Next, you’ll need to assemble a team to assist you in running for office and making your campaign more accessible to other voters with disabilities. Your team will typically depend on your budget and the size of your campaign, but a campaign manager will be essential to your success as a candidate with disabilities. As you assemble your team, you’ll want to look for essential staff members such as: ●    Campaign managers. For small campaigns, this could be the only staff you have on your team. However, campaign managers can typically help to hire other staff members, run ads, and manage your schedule. ●    Finance or fundraising directors. To secure funding for your campaign, set revenue goals, and identify potential donors, you’ll need a finance or fundraising director to assist you. ●    Copywriters. As you get ready to launch your political campaign, you’ll need a copywriter to help you with things like writing speeches, press releases, and website content. To find freelance website copywriting professionals with the skills you’re looking for, head to online job boards like Upwork. ●    Web developers. As a candidate with disabilities, your campaign website must be accessible to you and other disabled individuals. Like copywriters, you can find freelance web developers on Upwork. ●    Volunteers. If you’re looking to include other individuals with disabilities in your political campaign, you could hire them as volunteers. In addition to helping you with things like calling donors and setting up for events, your volunteers will obtain the skills and training they need to launch their own political campaign in the future. Launch Your Campaign for Office If you’d like to run for office, you shouldn’t let your disability hold you back from pursuing your dreams of making a positive difference in the world around you. Your disabilities may mean you’ll need to take a more creative approach to running for office, but organizations like the NCIL can help to prepare and empower you as you get ready to launch your political campaign.
Bev Weinberg
Four Ways to Support Your Favorite Nonprofit Virtually 
Most of us are learning new ways to navigate our world digitally. Integrate for Good and other nonprofits are, too, while in-person community outreach and fundraising events are on hold. With social distancing in effect, you might not be able to volunteer in person. But, like small businesses, your favorite nonprofit needs your support now more than ever. Here are four ways you can help. Share their message.  There’s a reason you support your favorite nonprofit. It takes only minutes to share what they do and why it’s important with others. If the organization posts on social media channels, you can share their message with people in your network with just a click or two. For example, Integrate for Good posts on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.  Sharing posts is even more effective when it comes with a few words in support of the post or the organization. Commenting on posts also helps, or inviting friends to like the organization’s Facebook page.  Talking about your favorite nonprofit in your personal conversations is even better. A casual conversation could introduce the organization to someone who hadn’t heard of it before. It might even uncover corporate or grant funding or other resources to help further the nonprofit’s mission. Participate in virtual events. Performing arts organizations, museums, zoos, and other nonprofits have turned to online events and services to stay connected with patrons and replace income normally generated by in-person activities. Integrate for Good is hosting online networking parties and #PlarnFridays on Facebook Live. Is your favorite nonprofit hosting an online networking party or a fundraiser show? Are there ways you can volunteer behind-the-scenes or as part of an online event?  Participating in virtual gatherings can be a fun way to socialize from home, especially if you invite friends to join you. It can also keep a small stream of income going for the sponsoring nonprofit until its fundraising galas and community events can resume. Donate and encourage others to donate. When you donate to a nonprofit, you become part of their answer to a need. Organizations depend on people to contribute financially, especially in times when government and corporate grants are unavailable or funneled toward other causes. Donate if you can. Better yet, start a Facebook fundraiser and invite people to join you in supporting your cause. Ask the company you work if they match donations to nonprofit organizations.  While monetary donations are most useful, nonprofits can sometimes use gift cards or gift basket items to raffle at fundraising events. Ask your favorite organization what donations they can use. Raise funds while you shop. Not everyone is in a position to donate money right now. If you’re one of many people spending more time at home and shopping online, you can still make a difference! If you buy from Amazon, shopping through their Amazon Smile program generates a 0.5% donation to a charity of your choice. Look for your favorite charity on the list. When you take any of these four actions, you’re helping to strengthen nonprofits like Integrate for Good so they can do more good and serve more people. Integrate for Good is a 501(c)(3) with a mission is to strengthen local communities by creating opportunities for people of all abilities to contribute their time and talent through volunteerism. Learn more about us at our website, join us at one of our virtual events, or sign up to receive our email updates. You can also find us on: Facebook LinkedIn Twitter
Bev Weinberg
A HUGE thank you!
Guess what you did? You provided opportunities for people with disabilities to be seen and celebrated as community leaders at companies like Nationwide and Dow. You transformed libraries, senior centers, college campuses, faith communities and even the Elmwood Park Zoo into inclusive communities where people of diverse abilities can make a collective difference through volunteerism. By showing up with us, you reduced loneliness and social isolation. You created spaces where people feel accepted, seen and appreciated for their abilities and talent. You helped us by sharing social media posts, by coming to our events and donating what you could. During the most challenging time we’ve ever seen, you haven’t forgotten about us. You’re the reason we’ve survived. For these reasons and so many more, we say the most heartfelt THANK YOU!! We are blessed to celebrate all of our wonderful volunteers during National Volunteer Appreciation Week! We appreciate you now and every day! You matter. What you do counts. Our community is stronger because of you. Check out our thank you video below! You might be in it!
Bev Weinberg
Integrate for Good Headquarters has Moved!
As many of you know, Integrate for Good is a lean operation!We cherish every dollar donated and work hard to have very minimal operational expenses.But…we outgrew our original location.My kitchen table just wasn’t big enough anymore, especially with the entire Weinberg family working and learning here at home! So… we areexcited to announce our new location!My bedroom corner!My family put together my old desk from my college days and here we are!No more family members photo bombing our virtual events and Zoom conferences!I can shut the door when Hazel barks at the Amazon delivery driver.I have a very pretty view of trees and birds which keeps me feeling hopeful and optimistic.It’s paradise, really! We still have our two other locations:our post office box in Creamery and my old Acadia (which is happy to be enjoying a much-needed rest!).While I can’t invite you here to the headquarters, I can invite you to visit our post office box with your notes and messages!One of the highlights of my week is putting on my mask and heading over to check our mail.Most days, it’s empty, but once in a while someone takes the time to brighten my day!It really means so much!I drive home with a huge smile, felling like a won a prize! We can’t have a ribbon cutting or open house for our new headquarters, but we invite you to join our virtual celebration on May 5th.We’ll have games, prizes, opportunitiesto network with a diverse crowd and a 50/50 raffle!You can sign up here:https://secure.givelively.org/event/integrate-for-good/integrate-for-good-because-we-re-better-together-virtual-networking-party Integrate for Good is so grateful to keep our mission going during this incredibly challenging time, all because of the generous support of our community.COVID Can’t Stop Good!When social distancing is no longer a thing, let’s make sure it’s no longer a thing for children and adults with disabilities too. Thinking of all of you! Bev Weinberg, Founder and Executive Director
Bev Weinberg
Integrate for Good supports Smiles for Seniors
Integrate for Good is committed to keeping people connected to opportunities to do good during this challenging time, even when we need to stay apart. Here's a way to make a difference in partnership with the Skippack Pharmacy ↗︎.Make a card for a senior. Include positive messages. Add some artwork if you’d like! You can drop your cards curbside or mail them. Skippack Pharmacy will disinfect them, and deliver them to seniors along with a donated bottle of hand sanitizer. This is the perfect project for people of all ages and abilities! Thank you to the Skippack Pharmacy for organizing a safe and creative way for us to make a difference together. Here is a video for our volunteers who would like to see a demonstration:    Would you like to drop your cards curbside? Here is the pharmacy’s address: Skippack Pharmacy4118 Skippack PikeSchwenksville, PA 19473Get Directions ↗︎ Would you like to mail your cards? Please use this address: Skippack PharmacyP. O. Box 1371Skippack, PA 19474 Thank you for helping us to support our seniors during this challenging time.
Bev Weinberg
Making a difference during COVID-19 with Operation Gratitude
Integrate for Good loves building inclusive communities through volunteerism. While we can’t come together for a while due to COVID-19, we can still make a difference from where we are as a caring community of volunteers. We love partnering with other organizations to do good work together. Let’s make a difference with Operation Gratitude. Operation Gratitude sends more than 250,000 care packages each year to deployed troops, veterans, new recruits and first responders. Of all the items included, the handmade cards and handwritten letters are the most appreciated! Let’s thank the people keeping us safe now and every day of the year. Write a letter or a card to a hero. Express your gratitude. Thank them for their bravery. Please follow the directions on this letter writing guide: If you are a volunteer who learns best through demonstration, watch this video:    We’re better together!Thanks for supporting Integrate for Good and Operation Gratitude! Download the Letter Writing Tips PDF
Bev Weinberg
Integrate for Good's Top 5 from 2019
I’m here in the same kitchen chair where I sat exactly one year ago today.  On January 1, 2019, I clicked “send” on the application to incorporate Integrate for Good as its own nonprofit organization.  So many emotions ran through me that day...fear, excitement, self-doubt, uncertainty, but also an underlying feeling that it was the right time to “jump.” One year later, I never could have predicted what 2019 would bring.  In the words of George Bernard Shaw, “Life is not about finding yourself.  It is about creating yourself.”  In my journey to create Integrate for Good, I ended up creating a stronger, more courageous me.  In honor of Integrate for Good’s first anniversary, I ‘d like to share five lessons learned from launching a start-up nonprofit business: Do what makes you come alive. Passion is a powerful energy source that can crush self-doubt and the debilitating fear of failure.  When you harness the power of passion, it fuels your success.  It is contagious.  It draws people to you and your work.   Passion is undeniable.  It shines in your eyes.  It strengthens your words.  It creates a wave that others want to ride with you. When you invite passion to infuse your work, your “why” become more important than your “what.”  Your work becomes a vehicle to achieve your highest purpose. I love when people notice and comment on my passion.  It is one of the biggest compliments I can receive.  When my passion is shining, I know that I am where I’m supposed to be, doing what I was put here to do.  I equate my passion with authenticity.  When my excitement is evident, I’m being most true to myself.  I’m still working on using less exclamation points, but that is still a challenge! Know when to pivot. How many of us have stayed too long in a job?  Pursued a dead-end relationship?  Followed a road map that while predictable, led to a destination not worth going? Sometimes we stayed loo long.  Sometimes we quit too soon.  We’re not often granted all of the information we need to make important decisions.  Launching a new nonprofit and sailing into unchartered territory has presented daily choices about staying on the same course, or deciding to turn the wheel.  Those decisions don’t come easily.  They don’t come with guide books or money-back guarantees. But exercising those pivoting muscles makes them stronger. We learn from our own experience and the experience of others on the road with us.  Our successes reinforce our confidence.  Choices that don’t turn out the way we expect, educate us.  When failure is not in our vocabulary, we either succeed or learn.  This year, I learned to show myself the same kindness and patience I show others.  When we accept that the road ahead is not a straight one, we can embrace the ride and find the courage to turn corners, not always knowing what lies around the bend.  But often, that’s where the best surprises are found. Choose “Day One” over “One Day.” For twenty years, I wanted to go back to school to pursue my doctoral work.  Life happened and different priorities kept rising to the top.  I realize now, that they were really just different excuses stemming from the fear of actually achieving my dream.  If I finished my doctoral work, would I be able to use that experience to create the change I wanted to see in my community?  Could I learn the new technology (like discussion boards and Google hangout), or would I be forever tied to my memories of overhead projectors, Vis-à-vis markers and my Trapper Keeper? Then, there was the decision about whether to keep Integrate for Good as a project safely nested under a larger nonprofit umbrella, or whether to take a huge risk and see if it could fly on its own.Both decisions were huge, with so much to gain, yet so much at risk.  Eventually I decided, in both situations, that the regret of not trying, far out-weighed the risk of disappointment.  Those decisions were the scariest I’ve ever made, yet have made all of the difference. If we wait until we have all of the information, and all of the experience we think we need, we run the risk of the best opportunities passing us by.Today is Day One of 2020.  What have you been putting off until “one day?”  Maybe it’s time to embrace Day One today. Say “yes” more often, and say “no” more often. “What if I embarrass myself?”  “What if they think I’m not ready?”  “What if I fall down?”  How many times have we let “what if” questions limit us instead of inspire us? This year, I committed to saying “yes” more often.  “Yes” to joining new groups where I could network with new people.  “Yes” to asking corporations to come on board as sponsors to empower our work.  “Yes” to entering rooms where I knew no one. I started asking new “what if” questions.  “What if I meet my next board member at this networking event?”  “What if this company decides to give us a donation that empowers us to support more young people with disabilities?”  “What if I consider new and diverse collaborations and we are able to expand our capacity and impact?” I also learned the importance of saying “no.”  “No” to overcommitting myself.  “No to people who wanted to discourage my dream.  “No” to people who wanted to take advantage of my kindness and generosity.  When you learn to say “no,” you make room for more opportunities that deserve a “yes.” Celebrate the small victories.  They are not so small after all. In the nonprofit world, and the for-profit arena as well, there is always the demand of reporting numbers, of documenting outcomes in quantifiable ways.  During our start-up year, I faced constant pressure to focus on these numbers, to count them and to increase them.  “How many volunteer hours were served?”  “How many people did we support?”  “How much money was donated?” It took an intentional focus to insist on also measuring the quality of these numbers, and telling the stories behind them.  We can share that over 5,000 volunteer hours were donated through Integrate for Good just this year, but what about the two hours within those 5,000 served by Sophia. Sophia, who lives with anxiety and significant learning disabilities, always traveled with a job coach from her local high school to volunteer with us at our local zoo.  One Friday afternoon, she decided she was ready to travel and volunteer without him.  When she arrived, her hands were shaking and her voice was quivering.  But Sophia quickly realized she wasn’t alone.  When she stepped off the bus, she was met with familiar faces and a community who knew her and looked forward to seeing her. During these two hours of volunteering, we shared what it’s like to try something right outside your comfort zone.  Integrate for Good and zoo staff joined in, along with other students sharing their own perspectives as young people with a variety of abilities and challenges. After our volunteer time was over, Sophia walked back up to the bus waiting for her.  While she didn’t need me to follow, I walked far enough behind to see her get on board without her noticing.  She looked taller.  I could sense her smile although I couldn’t see her face.  To her, those two hours were life-changing.  It was truly a privilege to witness. It’s easy to get caught up in reporting numbers, and sometimes it’s easy to feel like they aren’t high enough.  But behind every number, is a person.  Behind every number is a victory.  Taking time to acknowledge and celebrate success is energizing and important. In a great article for Inc.com, Bill Carmody talks about how celebrating success changes our physiology, reinforces our success, tightens our network when we share success with our colleagues, and positions us to attract even more success.  You can find the article here: https://www.inc.com/bill-carmody/3-reasons-celebrating-your-many-accomplishments-is-critical-to-your-success.html Integrate for Good wishes everyone a new year filled with these five things:  the opportunity to share your passion, the courage to pivot and grow, the bravery to make today Day One of something great, the confidence to say “yes” to new opportunities and “no” to the things that hold you back, and many moments of success to celebrate!
Bev Weinberg
Introducing our new partner... Gwynedd Mercy University!
Integrate for Good believes that students and adults of all abilities deserve a meaningful place on campus. Following an exciting launch at Ursinus College, we are excited to welcome our second Opening Doors on Campus partner, Gwynedd Mercy University! On November 23rd, we co-hosted a fun and meaningful volunteer engagement kick-off event with people of all abilities in partnership with Gwynedd Mercy’s Best Buddies chapter. We enjoyed delicious food, great connections and a fun afternoon of giving back through volunteerism. We are already planning what comes next! If you know of a college and university who shares our passion for making a place on campus for everyone in our community, of all abilities, we’d love to work with you! We believe that our community is stronger when opportunities aren’t just reserved for some of us, but for all of us!
Bev Weinberg
Integrate for Good makes history!
Since our launch, It has been our dream to empower people with disabilities to assume expert roles in leading corporate social responsibility events... and we made it happen on November 22nd! Thank you to Eric Knoblauch and the team at Northwestern Mutual-Bucks County for making history with us!Bob has been a weekly volunteer with Integrate for Good at the Indian Valley Public Library for over a year. He is the life of the party… friendly, outgoing and engaging. He is a problem solver and an energizer. Bob is strong and eager to help. He sets up tables, welcomes new people to our events and teaches our projects to people of all ages. Bob also happens to live with an intellectual disability. On November 22nd, Bob made history with Integrate for Good by leading a corporate social engagement event at Northwestern Mutual! When Bob met one the financial planners who mentioned that he had graduated from Ursinus College, Bob proudly shared, “I teach there!” Bob helped us launch our new Ursinus College volunteer site just the week before! How AMAZING that a gentleman with a significant intellectual disability had “college” in common with someone, and could share a wonderful conversation about what they both loved about the campus! Bob was excited to say, “You can call me Professor Bob!” Integrate for Good, in partnership with local companies and organizations, creates warm and welcoming spaces where everyone's abilities and talents can captured and celebrated! We would love to bring our innovative corporate team building events to your office! We also welcome your team to join us at one of our own community-based volunteer sites. Contact us to reserve your date today!
Bev Weinberg
Integrate for Good partners with Ursinus College
We are incredibly excited to announce our partnership with Ursinus College as part of our “Opening Doors on Campus” initiative. Join us every Monday from 12-2 pm in the Myrin Library Lounge for our community-building, inclusive volunteer projects! Too often, students with disabilities watch their brothers and sisters, neighbors and friends go off to college, never having the opportunity to benefit from campus life themselves. While there are exciting, new opportunities for some students with disabilities to attend college, young people with more significant disabilities are still left out. We are partnering with Ursinus College to make a meaningful place for people of all abilities to engage on campus with students, faculty and staff through volunteerism.Among other service activities, we will be running the Sleeping Mat Project. The Sleeping Mat Project is an innovative, fun activity with widespread community appeal. We engage volunteers in recycling plastic grocery bags into sleeping mats for people experiencing homelessness in our community. Each mat recycles between 700-800 plastic bags and provides an opportunity for people of all abilities to be providers of service to others. The project offers comfort to our community members without homes or a comfortable place to sleep. This project represents a diverse collaboration between multiple community organizations. Local school districts, agencies serving adults with disabilities, senior groups and faith communities will all volunteer their time with us. Agencies doing street outreach and the local police departments distribute the mats to those in need.This one project has the power to embrace inclusion, environmental awareness and homeless outreach. It represents a powerful way for us to show that everyone, no matter what challenges they face, can be seen and celebrated as a valuable provider of service in our shared community. Your support would empower us to sustain this established and successful project model, multiplying our impact. Thank you for supporting this exciting new initiative, and thank you to Ursinus College for being an incredible community partner and game-changer in our shared community!
Bev Weinberg
Disney...the universal language!
Recently, one of our young adults with autism demonstrated an incredible ability to reduce stigma, simply by being himself and sharing his passion for Disney. Jesse attends our inclusive Sleeping Mat Project each Thursday morning at the Indian Valley Public Library. He is an expert in all things Disney, always singing songs from Aladdin and Little Mermaid as he works. He can tell you when each movie was released in high definition. He knows every word and scene. It’s incredibly impressive! On one Thursday, a group of young children (without disabilities) who are home-schooled joined our volunteer activity. With little experience interacting with neuro-diverse peers, they were understandably timid and reluctant to engage. They watched Jesse’s rocking and constant movement with wide eyes.He approached the young children on his own and asked, “What’s your favorite Disney movie?” One little girl looked away and answered quietly, “I like Beauty and the Beast.” Immediately Jesse began singing “Be our Guest... Be our Guest”... Broadway-style! The little looked up from the ground with a big smile. Other children started sharing their favorite movies and favorite scenes. When it was time to leave the parents of the young children and Jesse’s staff person couldn’t get them out the door! Too often, people withautism are discouraged from talking about their favorite things. The paperwork in their “files” says things like, “He is obsessed” and “She should be redirected from “perseverating” on this topic.” We disagree. Jesse’s passion built a bridge. Jesse’s passion reduced stigma. Jesse’s passion taught a whole group of children that what we have in common is far greater than what makes us different.
Bev Weinberg
What if “Back to School” time could be for anyone?
Do you know someone who went off to college last month?  Maybe you went shopping for new notebooks and pens for yourself, or for your son or daughter.  Did you see all of those fun Facebook posts with car trunks jammed with dorm room decorations? Back to School time is full of excitement!  But only for some of us.  For people with more complex disabilities, they watch their brothers and sisters, neighbors and friends go off to college, but they are left behind. Integrate for Good is changing that, and you can help!  We are creating inclusive volunteer programs on college campuses where people of all abilities will gather together for engaging, weekly volunteer events.  Your contribution will have a profound impact: $50 pays for modified tools to allow someone who only has use of one arm to participate in making lunches for those living in poverty $100 buys a reusable wooden loom to make dozens of sleeping mats for people experiencing homelessness in our community $250 pays for activity costs for a weekly volunteer program on campus $1,000 sponsors one teenager with autism to gain valuable experience as an Integrate for Good program leader With your help, we can make sure college campuses are places where people of all abilities belong.  Thank you for making a difference with us!Donate
Bev Weinberg
Do you know about VTO?
Offering Volunteer Time Off (VTO) hours is an emerging trend in employee benefits.  The benefits of VTO are numerous. One of the biggest values of VTO is that of employee recruitment and retention.  PricewaterhouseCoopers conducted a survey and the results were that “59% of Millennials gravitated towards companies with pronounced Corporate Social Responsibility programs.”  For retention, the value is even higher, “74% of employees say their job is more fulfilling when given the opportunity to make a positive impact at work.”Companies also see a benefit in camaraderie across departments and company hierarchy. Working together towards a common goal builds these interdepartmental relationships. Also, by playing towards strengths unseen in a regular office setting, employers have a chance to discover untapped leadership skills and completely unknown skill sets of employees. Finally, your company’s brand image is boosted by the view of its involvement in the community.  Contact us to see how Integrate for Good can help your company with VTO in exciting and innovative ways! → Read the full article here →
Bev Weinberg
Integrate for Good’s Elmwood Park Zoo Initiatives dedicated in memory of David Foreman
Teri Black and her family experienced the most devastating and unimaginable loss, the loss of their son, David. Before David died, he inspired Teri to get involved in providing care and support to people experiencing homelessness in our local community, and in bringing an end to the stigma attached to the disease of addiction. David introduced Teri to a wonderful group of people who were beginning to recycle plastic bags to make mats for people in the community without a place to sleep. This initiative later became known as the Sleeping Mat Project. Teri shared, “It would have been easy to just stop everything when we lost David and I did think about that for a quick minute, but staying involved was my way of keeping his memory alive and out there – of making him count.” David will always count. His influence continues to impact hundreds of people as Integrate for Good partners with Teri and the Sleeping Mat Project to continue the work David loved so much. By making the project accessible to people with disabilities, we draw strength from David’s memory, embracing our shared values of inclusion and belonging.  David’s legacy is woven into every stitch of every mat we make. With each mat that we weave as an inclusive community, we affirm that we care about creating a stronger community where everyone counts and no one is left behind or alone. Integrate for Good is incredibly grateful for the generous contribution made in David’s memory. His spirit will fuel our important work forward at the Elmwood Park Zoo as we creatively teach countless children of all abilities about conservation through the Sleeping Mat Project. Integrate for Good is truly privileged with the honor of celebrating David’s life and carrying on his legacy.  We deeply thank David’s family for this generous donation in his memory.
Bev Weinberg
Innovative Corporate Social Responsibility Opportunities
Is your company committed to giving back to your local community? Integrate for Good would love to partner with you!
Bev Weinberg
Join our Board!
Are you looking for an exciting way to connect with your local community, grow your professional network and share your experience and expertise, all while making a difference?
Bev Weinberg
Opening Doors on Campus
We are so excited to announce Integrate for Good's innovative collaboration with Temple University, Gwynedd Mercy University and Montgomery County Community College.
Bev Weinberg
Light the Launch!
We invite you to help us light our launch!Now that we are a recognized 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, we are raising funds to launch strong!Every donation helps us to empower more students and adults with disabilities by offering engaging workshops and creating innovative digital portfolios to highlight the ability in every disability.
Bev Weinberg
Congregation Or Hadash//Eileen Kupersmith
As soon as Eileen Kupersmith heard about Integrate for Good, she was an immediate supporter! Eileen has been instrumental in establishing the Sleeping Mat Project at our first faith community, Congregation Or Hadash in Fort Washington.
Bev Weinberg
Upper Perkiomen School District
Integrate for Good supports both students and adults in our local community. We partner with school districts to provide opportunities for students to learn more about the power of volunteering. Through our workshops, students create digital portfolios with pictures, video and valuable information which highlights their abilities, strengths, work experience and interests.
Bev Weinberg
Upper Dublin Library//Cheri Fiory
Integrate for Good seeks out opportunities for people with disabilities to assume community leadership roles and to be valued as experts in the field. That is why we were so excited, when just a few months after our launch, the Upper Dublin Library approached Access Services about conducting a staff in-service about creating welcoming public spaces for people of all abilities.
Bev Weinberg
Indian Valley Public Library
Integrate for Good had a wonderful opportunity to present at a Southeastern PA Library Association in-service last year. Nicole Husbands, a librarian from Indian Valley Public Library shared on a panel following our presentation, and we immediately knew we wanted to work with her.
Bev Weinberg
Mitzvah Circle Foundation
Mitzvah Circle Foundation provides material support to individuals and families dealing with crisis, poverty, homelessness and serious illness. Mitzvah Circle specializes in serving people who are unable to obtain immediate or sufficient help from government agencies and traditional service organizations.
Bev Weinberg
Montgomery County Senior Adult Activity Center//Michele Ross
When we launched with our initial grant, we had enough money for one mailing to share Integrate for Good with area nonprofit organizations, letting them know of our willingness to help them work toward their own missions by capitalizing on the volunteer power of people with disabilities.
Bev Weinberg
Indian Creek Foundation
It takes passion an enthusiasm to grow a new idea.  Back in September, Bev Weinberg and George Casady, the Day Services Director at Indian Creek Foundation were preparing to present together at the Pennsylvania Advocacy and Resources Conference in Harrisburg.
Bev Weinberg
RSVP
Integrate for Good is committed to connecting people of all abilities to what we call “generic” community-based opportunities to volunteer their time, not “special” opportunities or “separate, but equal” opportunities.  RSVP has partnered with us to make this happen.
Bev Weinberg
Access Services
The inspiration for Integrate for Good emerged from Bev’s work as an Occupational Therapist in local school districts within Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.  Before Integrate for Good even had a name, Bev knew that she wanted to create a way to expand opportunities for individuals with disabilities to be seen and celebrated as providers of service in our county, not just as recipients of service.
Bev Weinberg
Introducing our Integrate for Good 2019 Champion… Teri Black!
Sometimes you’re just in the right place at the right time.  Maybe’s it’s luck.  Maybe it’s fate.  Maybe it’s just meant to be.  On September 14th  2017, just a little over two months after our launch, it was divine intervention when we met Teri Black at the Access Services Twining Life program.
Bev Weinberg