Executive Director Debbie Horn founded Inclusion Connections in 2013 in response to the need she saw in her son, Matthew, who has Down syndrome. There were few educational and social opportunities in Kansas City, and she believed his lack of job skills would limit Matthew from reaching his full potential.
Today, Inclusion Connections provides thousands of hours of year-round opportunities for teens and young adults with developmental disabilities in Kansas City. An Activity Center in Olathe, KS is the heart of IC, and a second group is located in Liberty, MO. Programs focus on: healthy nutrition, cooking and exercise; access to art, theater and music; job skills training and self-advocacy classes; and summer camps in both locations.
PawsAbilities program, implemented in 2016, offers young adults job skills training with the opportunity to make and sell dog treats, toys and bandanas. Participants also have the opportunity to help run a storefront in Olathe. Today, several local banks purchase PawsAbilities treats to give out in their drive throughs, and products are available in a variety of retail locations and veterinary offices. We have a booth at the Olathe Farmers Market each summer, and engage in other Kansas City events including the well-known Overland Park Holiday Boutique. Of course, PawsAbilities products can be purchased online as well.
With the help of many local businesses, individuals, and foundations, Inclusion Connections and PawsAbilities continue to grow and prosper! More information can be found at ICPawsAbilities.org or ICkc.org.