In 2015 our church created a 20-person AIM task force, with many members identifying as having a disability. The group was charged with the following mission:
To welcome, integrate, and support people with physical or psychological disabilities and their families into our congregation.
It started by conducting a survey of the congregation to better understand what changes people wanted to improve their experiences at the Meeting House.
The task force led several workshops for the congregation, coordinated several improvements to make our Meeting House more accessible, and made connections with disability focused organizations outside of our church.
The task force offered a workshop on our AIM work at the UU state conference, Cluster Connections. It’s members have also participated in annual Sunday worship services focused on accessibility and inclusion, hosted the “Free At Last Players” play at our Meeting House focused on reducing mental illness stigma, conducted a workshop on using the new hearing loop in the Sanctuary and participated in a webinar on mental health offered by the UUA New England Region. In 2019, we partnered with Disability Rights of CT and hosted voter registration opportunities for those seeking an accessible location in which to register.
Mutually beneficial relationships and partnerships were formed with groups inside and outside of the church—on the outside, with Unified Theater, the University of Hartford, The Hartford Stage, National Alliance on Mental Illness CT, Disability Rights CT, PATH P2P Family Voices and CT KASA (CT Kids as Self Advocates).
The task force also identified physical problems that would hinder a rapid evacuation of the Meeting House in the case of an emergency and fixed many of them. We continue our work on developing an evacuation plan and practicing co-ordinated drills with the RE classrooms.
We are working towards certification as a UUA AIM certified congregation this year.