Hometown Giving

Self reflection rings loud this time of year. We question where we’ve been and where we’re going in the year ahead. Part of that reflection includes a desire to give back.

For most of us, the desire to give is strong…and the choices are plentiful. Many smaller, community-oriented organizations, however, stand in the shadows of larger charities. These smaller organizations are doing good work, and sometimes performing miracles. Olathe-based Inclusions Connections and its sister organization, IC PawsAbilities are two such nonprofits.

Inclusion Connections and PawsAbilities serve young adults in suburban Kansas City with intellectual disabilities. For these individuals, it’s a challenge to find employment, camaraderie and even a meaningful connection to their own towns and cities. These are the individuals who attended and graduated from Johnson County, Kansas schools, shop in our local stores and dine in our local restaurants. Their families are the face of our local community, living, working, and playing in Olathe and Overland Park. And yet, individuals with intellectual disabilities struggle to find the same foothold as their families.

Through years of fundraising, both organizations have developed solid programming to give these individuals robust social opportunities through Inclusion Connections and valuable employment training through PawsAbilities’ artisanal pet products. Our two major fundraisers — FashionAbility and Bowl-A-Rama — contribute to the daily operations of both organizations.

Still, we rely on the generosity of businesses and individuals in our community. A small donation can make an enormous impact. For example, $25 provides essential art supplies, $100 provides transportation to summer camp, and $250 provides a month of job training for our Paws Olathe workforce.

Your heart no doubt has many favorite charities. However, if you are looking for a way to make a big impact in your own hometown, please consider a year-end gift to Inclusion Connections or PawsAbilities at IC PawsAbilities Donate.

Happy New Year, and we thank you for your consideration!

Gifting with Purpose

With only a few days left, the quest to find the perfect gift becomes more challenging. You want to find something different, something useful and most of all, something meaningful. Big box stores and online sites offer the basics and meet some of the requirements…some of the time. Yet, it’s often independent, small retailers who offer the most interesting and innovative gifts.

A gift from PawsAbilities is both functional and meaningful. Our core products are made in true artisanal fashion – one by one, crafted with care and infused with passion. From indulgent dog biscuits to doggie bandanas and old school rope toys, each product has been planned and produced by a member of our community with an intellectual disability. That’s the meaningful piece of this story. When you purchase a PawsAbilities product, you are supporting employment training and social opportunities for people in your own backyard.

Pet products remain number one on Santa’s list. Individuals and families love to honor their most cherished four-legged friends. The family dog is the symbol of unconditional love. The endearing term, “man’s best friend,” is an understatement. The family dog brings more than friendship. He or she brings love, companionship, and warmth to every household.

People with intellectual disabilities bring a unique gift to their communities, as well. We invite you to stop by our store or view our products online in your quest to find the perfect gift this week.