Society has become increasingly interested in volunteerism. After previous research revealed a lack of volunteer opportunities for individuals with disabilities, a pilot project was developed to examine the benefits of volunteerism for this population, as well as their nondisabled peers and the agency in which they served. The project involved college undergraduates and adolescents from a local school for students with disabilities. After two semesters of work for a local agency, benefits were discussed and evaluated. Benefits to the participants with disabilities included pride, skill development and generalization, empowerment, and increases in social interaction and verbal communication. Benefits to the participants without disabilities included positive attitude change, increased social interaction, and professional development. Benefits were also recognized for the agency involved and the community at large. Implications are provided for further research and project replication.
Author Kimberly D. Miller, Stuart J. Schleien, Cecilia Rider, Crystal Hall, Megan Roche, James Worsley
Volume Vol 36, No 3 (2002)