ConnectUs is a Michigan 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2009 with the goal of ensuring that people with multiple disabilities lead purposeful, engaging lives involving service to others. At ConnectUs, we believe that everyone has something to give and that the needs of one are the opportunities of another. We combine this mission and vision to reach five main goals:
- To engage people with severe multiple disabilities.
- To engage their caregivers.
- To educate others about this population.
- To produce and provide items of value for other nonprofit organizations.
- To be a model program that can be replicated by organizations in other states and regions.
This is accomplished by an individual with disabilities moving through a special process with the help of a partner in order to create or assemble a product, such as a puppet, dog biscuit, story book, valentine card, or soup mix, which is then donated for use by another charitable organization. The process is broken down into a series of 20 steps that allow even the most disabled person to perform each task, with hand-over-hand assistance from a non-disabled partner.
In just five short years, we have already grown from an idea to a service provided twice a month at two different locations. To date, ConnectUs participants have made and donated over 2,000 dog biscuits to train rescue dogs, 1,500 felt puppets to schools around the world, and 2,500 cookies and muffins for lunches distributed to the homeless in Detroit all while involving multiply-disabled participants and their caregivers.